Various Artists

Company 91, Vol. 3

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This is the final volume of recordings from the Company Week of 1991, a free improvised music festival that brought together musicians from Great Britain, Europe, and the U.S.A. As on the other two volumes, the tracks are signified only by the initials of the players involved, so it would serve to list them all here: John Zorn, Buckethead, Yves Robert, Paul Rogers, Derek Bailey, Vanessa Mackness, Paul Lovens, Pat Thomas, and Alexander Balanescu. While all of the tracks are at the very least interesting, a few of these impromptu performances -- many of these musicians met for the first time while playing together -- truly stand out. There is a three-part suite between Bailey, Balanescu, Mackness, Zorn, and Robert which is almost a minuet of improvisation. The instruments dance around Mackness in varying degrees, commenting on her wordless vocals and bringing out or accenting the emotion she expresses. Another is the trio of Buckethead, Rogers, and Thomas, which screams with intensity and fury after a slow and ominous beginning. Also, the duet between Bailey and Buckethead that closes the set is a conflicting one in two styles and approaches to improvisation that one would have thought would have been better left unexplored. However, they come dangerously close to union here with the short, atonal percussive strokes of Bailey meeting the fluid, pick-blazing fretboard races of Buckethead.

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