The Music Improvisation Company album cover
The Music Improvisation Company

Derek Bailey , Evan Parker , Hugh Davies , Jamie Muir , Christine Jeffrey

ECM Records

The Music Improvisation Company was a quartet featuring some of the best jazz and improv players from the UK – Derek Bailey (guitar), Jamie Muir (percussion), Evan Parker (soprano saxophone) and Hugh Davies (electronics) – whose first album, on ECM, chimed with a shift in European free music towards a form of ‘non-idiomatic improvisation’ that feels loosely aligned, in both membership and outcome, with the aims of larger-scale collective improvisations. It’s bracing stuff, the kind of playing for which the word ‘pointillist’ might have been invented, though that undersells the dynamic range here, and on “Untitled No. II”, the quartet works up quite a head of steam. The interplay between Davies and Muir is particularly fascinating, as they seem to act like shadow spirits of Bailey and Parker’s jousting. Christine Jeffrey’s vocal contributions on two tracks, including some delirious explorations on “Untitled No. II,” are never less than compelling.

Jon Dale

Who also suggested

If you select your preferred streamer here, we will save your preference and link to that platform if possible. This can always be changed in the Settings menu.

Apple Music

If you’d like to prioritize Bandcamp if available, tap the Bandcamp logo.

Since some albums are only available on one service, you’ll still see logos for other services if the album is only available on that service.