Company is a series of live recordings issued on Derek Bailey's label by a varying group of musicians who performed and were recorded over five nights in May of 1987 at The Arts Theater in London. As such, its pieces are titled: "Sextet," "Duo," "Trio 1," "Trio 2," and "Quartet" to denote how many performers were on each selection. Notable are the appearances of not only Bailey and Barre Phillips, who are stalwarts on Incus, but of Carlos Zingaro playing in a sextet with Lee Konitz, Tristan Honsiger, and Richard Teitelbaum as well. This "Sextet," which opens the record, is a stunner of restraint and beauty and is, for the most part, a lyrical exploration of the ambiguous side of harmony. There are shifting harmonics between the strings, the electric guitar, the bass, and the alto, with only Teitelbaum's keyboards to hold them all in balance with one another and to try to make something of the entire proceeding, which he does with their cooperation in a haunting, graceful, and heartbreakingly beautiful way. Also the quartet -- which features Konitz, Teitelbaum, Phillips, and percussionist Steve Noble -- is, for its 22 minutes, a stunning piece of work in that it reveals the depth of Konitz's understanding of the purely improvised form and how he in turn relates it all to the blues. He and Phillips wind around and through each other with such empathy and respect, it's positively moving. The other pieces are a gas in their own way too, but the aforementioned make up half the disc and could provide untold weeks of listening on their own before they gave up all their secrets.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek