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Company week 1993 by Ben Watson

Extrait du livre de Ben Watson « Derek Bailey and the story of free improvisation » verso 2004

Thursday evening started with two trios by Bailey, Madiot and Wilkinson. Musicality was so in abundance that the players seemed the long notes of the horn that made him sound very-crunchy; he was making all kinds of spiky connections between their notes, evoking both the struts in a atomic model of mica and crispy bacon inside an avocado sandwich. Consonance and toe-tapping rhythms kept arising, but as objects of discussion rather than environmental givens. As often on his alto, Wilkinson entered realms of undefended lyricism, Bailey’s spangled notes the perfect foil. Madiot used his mute to play vocal rhythms on his trombone; Wilkinson responded with such abrupt phuts, it was as he’d become the drummer. The trio fused into a single entity, the three musicians accelerating as if towards some bizarre object of desire that had suddenly and unexpectedly arisen...

By the end of Thursday night, Klapper, Madiot and Byron were playing a music bred on memory of how all previous music has proceed, but with every contribution driven by risk: grotesques and drunken fanfares and baby winds and infarct agony all part of hellscape...

A quartet between Wilkinson, Diagram, Madiot and Mori showed that the flexibility of brilliant horn players could make magic of mechanical toy beats. It would be hard to cite any other music so adept at splicing contradictory moods: here nocturnal nostalgia and petulance violence seemed to be spun together in finer strands. Madiot used a Camembert box as a mute- the old tradition of French mime and self mockery dies hard- but was magnificently supportive, Wilkinson resorting to the superlative « chuffa chuffa » of his vintage-locomotive imitation on baritone...

A final quartet -Minton, Schulkowsky, Byron, Madiot – had Madiot and Schulkowsky playing furiously, but by now Byron was sulking, as if disappointed with the company he’d been keeping...