Recorded on November 11, 1989, as part of a festival organized by northern England's legendary new music nightspot, the Termite Club in Leeds, this gritty quintet features bassist and Bruce's Fingers label boss Simon H. Fell in the company of improv titans Lol Coxhill (soprano sax) and Paul Rutherford (trombone) and muscular free jazz bruisers George Haslam (baritone sax) and Paul Hession (drums). A lot of ink has been spilled over recent years as to what exactly constitutes the difference between free jazz and free improv, but while musicologists and critics have been arguing over the fine points, the musicians themselves have, as always, gotten on with business. The four extended tracks on Termite One are in effect both -- arguably "free improvised jazz": there's the open form of improv and a free flow of ideas not derived from or dependent on a theme, but at the same time the music respects structural principles associated with jazz in its alternation of solo and ensemble passages. Whatever you choose to call it, it's 100 percent live (and well remastered in 1999) and 300 percent alive, brimming over with energy and creativity, and the five musicians are in spectacular form throughout.
AllMusic Review by Dan Warburton