Page Four

World Class Musicians Headline Four Intimate Concerts in the Hudson Valley October 7 – 10

In addition to Cyro Baptista, over a dozen world-class artists, including Peter Apfelbaum, Mark Helias’s Open Loose Trio with Tony Malaby and Tom Rainey, Jason Hwang, and Kirk Knuffke will perform as part of CMS’s Fall Workshop. A highly successful four-day workshop in May at the Full Moon Resort, featuring Oliver Lake, Dave Douglas, John Medeski, Don Byron and many more re-ignited CMS and its nonprofit parent, the Creative Music Foundation. Positive feedback from that workshop prompted CMS to offer another workshop during the height of autumn when the Catskill leaves are most colorful.

The CMS Fall Workshop concert line up is:

Monday, October 7: Bassist Mark Helias and his trio featuring reedist Tony Malaby and drummer Tom Rainey. They will be joined by CMF co-founders Karl Berger (vibes, piano) and singer/poet Ingrid Sertso, as well as Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, reedist Peter Apfelbaum and singer Tom Buckner.

Tuesday, October 8: Trumpeter Kirk Knuffke, guitarist Kenny Wessel, flute/reedist Steve Gorn, drummer Harvey Sorgen, Mexican guitarist Omar Tamez, and bassist John Menegon join Peter Apfelbaum, Tom Buckner, Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso.

Wednesday, October 9: Kirk Knuffke, Kenny Wessel, Harvey Sorgen, Omar Tamez, John Menegon, Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso.

Thursday, October 10: violist Jason Hwang, Harvey Sorgen, Omar Tamez, John Menegon, Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso.

Directions and information about the CMS Fall Workshop Concerts at Full Moon Resort is available at www.fullmoonresort.com or by calling 845.254.5117.

The CMS 40th Anniversary Fall Workshop will feature four days of intensive workshops, master classes, concerts and informal jam sessions that inspire deep listening, personal expression, improvisation and musical exploration. Musicians of any instrument, including voice, are welcome as are non-musicians. Adults who played music earlier in their lives can benefit from this lifelong learning opportunity that offers participants a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn from and play with music masters, and to simply spend time with them in an informal, personal setting.

CMS Alumnus Invents New Flute and Launches Project for Guinea

Sylvain Leroux Launches Music Literacy Kickstarter

CMS alumnus Sylvain Leroux (flutist & saxophonist, etc.) launched a Kickstarter campaign. The project aims to develop a pedagogic music literacy method based on the use of his recently patented invention, the “chromatic tambin.” He wants to demonstrate that this instrument, which can be made onsite from widely available plastic tubing, can be used to teach the fundamentals of music theory to children in Guinea, and possibly elsewhere. As of the publication of this article, the campaign achieved over 25% of its funding goal with 12 days to go.

As a young jazz-oriented, classically trained flutist, Sylvain attended the Creative Music Studio for the first time in the Spring of 1978 when he participated in workshops led by Ingrid, Karl Berger, Don Cherry, Leo Smith, Alan Ginsberg, Carla Bley, Jimmy Giuffre… to name a only a few. Inspired by the idea of World Music he discovered at CMS, he followed his interest for African music all the way to Conakry to study the tambin (a.k.a. Fula flute), a traditional three-hole sideblown Guinean flute, remarkable for its vital sound and the exuberant vocalizations that accompany it.

Later, in collaboration with Guinean tambin master Bailo Bah he produced the album “Fula Flute” which was influential and contributed to worldwide awareness of the instrument. The music from the CD has been ubiquitous on Guinean radio and television for more than a decade.

Leroux has visited Guinea many times. Initially to study the tambin, his relationship with the country has evolved into a more personal one. Many times his friends expressed to him that he should open a music school there. This seemed an impossible dream until the advent of his invention. Then, he saw that this simple instrument could help lay the foundation for an eventual fully-fledged music school.

He therefore began striving to prove the validity of the concept with a first step earlier in 2013 when he spent a month in Conakry teaching the wonderful children of the Tyabala Center the basics of flute playing. They took to the flute enthusiastically and this demonstrated that the instrument was adequate for use by children for the intended purpose. The next step, which is covered by the current Kickstarter project, consist in a four month stay to dive further into the children’s instruction and work with them to achieve tangible results in music literacy.

Anyone interested is invited to discover Sylvain’s project and to contribute to make his interesting idea a reality. Visit the following link for further information: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fulaflute/music-literacy-program-for-guinea

Sylvain is active on the New York City music scene, playing in Karl Berger’s Improvisers’ Orchestra, Adam Rudolph’s Go: Organic Orchestra, his own African Jazz band Source;and can be found playing flute and sax every Wednesday with the great Guinean band Mandingo Ambassadors at Barbès in Park Slope Brooklyn.


Sylvain Leroux teaching flute in Conakry, in 2013. Photo by Bakoutoubou Doukoure

 


Sylvain Leroux. Photo by Christopher Drukker

CMS Fall Workshop Recap: 4 Days of Intensive Workshops and Intimate Concerts

The Creative Music Studio’s second 40th anniversary workshop took place between October 7 – 11 at Full Moon Resort, nestled streamside in a valley 30 minutes west of Woodstock, NY.  Twenty participants interacted day and night with 14 Guiding Artists, including Vijay Iyer, Peter Apfelbaum, Steve Gorn, Tom Rainey, Tony Malaby, Tom Buckner, Mark Helias, Kirk Knuffke, Kenny Wessel, Harvey Sorgen, Omar Tamez, John Menegon and of course Creative Music Foundation co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso.

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https://youtu.be/f6m-pp-rCxE

Following is a brief summary of the week:

Monday, October 7:

 Despite tornado warnings, torrential rains and even a five-hour power outage, the CMS Fall Workshop kicked off.  After cocktails and appetizers, Karl Berger invited the group to explain who they were and why they were attending the workshop.  Participants came from Europe, California, Virginia and Japan, among other far-reaching places.  After a wonderful dinner, the group went to the Roadhouse for the first of four intimate concerts.  Open/Loose, a trio with Mark Helias, Tony Malaby and Tom Rainey kicked off the concert, with stunning duo and trio work, playing microtones and macro grooves. The trio was joined later by Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso, Cyro Baptista and Peter Apfelbaum.  It was a rousing launch for the week ahead.  Later in the evening, participants joined in various combinations, jamming until late in the evening.

Tuesday, October 8:

After Savia Berger’s body awareness/movement class, Karl Berger’s Gamalataki Rhythm Training and Ingrid Sertso’s Voice Training classes, Guiding Artist Cyro Baptista got to work, though ‘play’ may better describe his approach. “Home Depot is my favorite musical instrument store,” said Cyro during his morning workshop. “I love making up my own new instruments because they make new sounds.”   Using a huge variety of instruments, from berimbau to the cashishi, many he learned to play from CMS Guiding Artist Nana Vasconcelos, Cyro involved the participants in a variety of rhythm games that included clapping, dancing and singing. He talked about Westerners feeling music in their upper bodies while Brazilians use their whole body, especially the lower parts, to connect with music viscerally.  He also talked about the struggles artists need to create great art. “You have to be uncomfortable as an artist,” he said, sharing anecdotes about Herbie Hancock’s unflinching desire to make art, even if it means half the people in the concert hall leaving. He quoted Herbie: “I play for the people who stay.”  Cyro also talked about first coming to the United States to study at CMS and how he learned the Gamalatki rhythm system and would wander NYC streets using it to keep rhythm as he walked.

After lunch, Tony Malaby, Tom Rainey and Mark Helias, the Open/Loose Trio, lead a workshop that focused a lot on being purely in the musical moment, not playing self-consciously and letting the music come to the musician. ”Technique is what allows us to express ourselves,” said Helias.  “We need to absorb technique into our muscle memory so it’s available in improvisations intuitively, analytically, and instinctively integrated into our sound.” After some exercises with duos, trios, quartets and quintets, Tom lead an at-times heated discussion about not avoiding playing pretty grooves. “You’re not playing free if you’re consciously avoiding grooves, melody or harmony,” he said. “Find a way to add to these things and explore all colors; don’t avoid them.”

Peter Apfelbaum began his afternoon workshop, rhetorically asking:  “What makes a successful improvisation?” and answering with, “Getting out of your  own way, not thinking, not wanting, just being in the music,” a refrain often heard at CMS workshops.   He invited participants to explore exercises in controlled improvisations and setting limits, asking them to compose and improvise using only two notes. “How free can you be using certain limitations?” He encouraged participants to use dynamics to “add drama, and a broad musical vocabulary to add variety, contrast and suspense in improvising.” He continued with this koan:  “If you’re playing really free without a reference point, then how will other musicians or the audience know just how free you’re playing?”

In other workshops, Harvey Sorgen lead the group on how to breathe with the music, into the music, and how to breathe music out of one’s body and into one’s instrument, from drums to voice.  If you’ve ever seen him play, you’ll understand what he means.

Thomas Buckner spent his workshop focusing on more open and free vocal improvisations, allowing anything to come in, not editing.  Through playful vocal exercises, the group loosened up and created marvelous sounds. After, they worked with Tom to ‘compose’ an improvised piece for the evening’s concert program.

Steve Gorn’s early evening workshop focused on the grammar and architecture of ragas, using singing and listening as tools to dig deeper into Indian classical music.  He talked about the “yoga of sound and how music resonates inside us physically and emotionally” and took the group through a variety of calls and responses, using an evening raga as the focus.  He also explained why a drone, in this case a tambura, is used in Indian music.  “It’s important because every note in the architecture of a raga takes its place in each drone.”  He went on to explain that while the ragas are ancient, people can improvise over and around them, constantly renewing and reenergizing classical ragas, making them contemporary.

 Before opening the evening concert with a solo flute raga, Gorn talked emotionally about the role of artists passing their art to the next generation.  He then played a gorgeous raga that set the stage for the rest of the evening’s concerts. Next up was Thomas Buckner, who lead eight participants in a wonderful vocal improvisation, something they had worked out in Tom’s workshop earlier in the day.  That was followed by a concert featuring Karl and Ingrid, Peter Apfelbaum, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, guitarist Kenny Wessel, drummer Harvey Sorgen, Mexican guitarist Omar Tamez, vocalist Tom Buckner, and bassist John Menegon, along with workshop participants joining in at various times. It was another night of splendid music in the intimate and rustic Roadhouse at the Full Moon Resort.

Wednesday, October 9:

“Voice is the gateway to the heart,” Karl began morning rhythm and vocal practice.  “When you sing, you feel sound in your body.” It set the stage for Ingrid, who talked about voice being ‘our first instrument’ before taking the group through a variety of playful and insightful vocal exercises and practices.

Karl segued to rhythm training: “Music needs to be played by heart. Thinking is much too slow.” The purpose of the Gamalataki rhythm training, he explained, is to feel the music with beat-for-beat attention. “Let the music come to you. If you wait, it will come. Don’t push or be impulsive. Waiting and not playing helps the music.”

 Cornetist Kirk Knuffke’s spent half his workshop sharing  about his experience in Butch Morris’s orchestra, taking the group through some nifty exercises that asked participants to improvise on rhythm, not melody, by using just two notes.  “You don’t have to have fully formed ideas to come in. Just play,” he said, echoing other CMS Guiding Artists. “Improvising is leading, following and getting out of the way,” he concluded.

Feedback CMS received after its May workshop made it clear that nearly everyone wanted to have more time playing in Karl’s Improviser’s Orchestra.  So, for the fall workshop, we scheduled three sessions.  Playful as always, Karl started the workshop quoting a Don Cherry koan: “Always think of another note when you think of one note.”  He went on to discuss the principles of dynamics, tuning and harmony, taking the group through tuning exercises first with voice, and later with instruments.  “We need to tune into the sound and remember that every note contains every other note,” one of Karl’s mantras. He continued: “Even if you’re not playing, you are part of the orchestra. You’re playing the orchestra, the orchestral sound is you!”  With that freedom as the foundation, Karl conducted the orchestra in two long pieces with everyone getting a chance to solo.

Omar Tamez, the Mexican guitarist, lead a workshop that focused on getting rid of ‘right and wrong’ and about commitment to music and sound: “Play something like you’ll never play it again.”  He also encouraged the group to practice compositions from every point of view, even backward and upside down, as a way of getting inside the music and letting the music get inside you. He led the group through a variety of exercises. Summarizing, he said: “If someone knows even just one note. He can change anything with that one note.”

The day’s workshops concluded with a ‘Listening to the Sound Disappear’ meditation, a teaching Karl and Ingrid received from a Tibetan Buddhist lama.

Concerts that night included Karl and Ingrid, along with Kirk, Omar, Harvey Sorgen, John Menegon, and guitarist Kenny Wessel, as well as jams with participants and late night jams among participants themselves.

Thursday, October 10:

After morning movement awareness, rhythm and vocal workshops, and 90 minutes of playing in Karl’s Improviser’s Orchestra, Guiding Artist Vijay Iyer  commenced his afternoon workshop in the rustic, spacious Barn.  “Music is a way of connecting people,” he began before launching in to an extended discussion about ‘embodied cognition’ – musical rhythms that activate parts of the brain.  Of course we should have expected this from someone with a PhD in the cognitive science of music!  He moved the discussion from brains to heart, explaining that music is in everyone, “every breath, heartbeat, step we take, our speech, they’re all rhythm. Music comes from us; we don’t go to it. Improvisation is what we do with our bodies. Rhythm synchronizes our actions.,” said Vijay. Then he moved from the theoretical to the practical: “When you’re playing, part of you needs to be an observer who’s listening. This helps us avoid imitation or following another person.”  He also played some recent recordings he made with Afghanistan and Iraqi war veterans revealing the personal toll war has taken on their lives. “The artist is honest and courageous,” he declared. “Music provides an environment to tell the truth, a place to hear tough stuff.”

Jason Hwang’s workshop seemed to magically incorporate a bit of every workshop that came before. It tied together so many bits and pieces and in a way, really unified all the disparate ideas Participants experienced with so many different Guiding Artists. After getting to ‘know’ the Participants by asking each of them to play for 30 seconds, Jason began talking. For Jason, life and art are synonymous: “Tie your sound to your life experience. It’s not about music. It’s about life. Music is about life.”  He also encouraged the group to take chances and to “make a mistake every time you practice.”  Summarizing eloquently and building on Vijay’s workshop, Jason concluded by explaining how “music harmonizes the brain which in turn harmonizes life.” Could there be a more fitting conclusion?

 As it was Thelonious Monk’s birthday, the evening concert focused on interpreting Monk tunes, with Karl, Ingrid, Jason, Omar, Harvey and John Menegon taking the stage and inviting Participants up at various times to play. It was a fitting end to a wonderful week.

 

 

 

Participants’ Quotes about The Fall 2013 Workshop:

This is a workshop for musicians of all backgrounds to come together and make music that exists solely in the moment. It’s a chance for a musician to free themselves from the bonds of musical style and just play, while keeping their voices fully intact.

Workshop content was brilliant, visceral, challenging if you wanted it to be, worldly and very interesting.

The conversation is stimulating. The atmosphere is great and the people are friendly. It’s an opportunity to be heard, but also be a part of something bigger than oneself.

I started learning some new tunes and relearning some tunes in new keys, I noticed that my playing was freer. My wife, Kathy, seldom comments on my practicing, but a couple of days ago I was practicing improvising on Body and Soul in G. She called from the other room, “Wow, what was that? That was beautiful.

I love the jams. And I like that there are two spaces, so if one jam is playing real book stuff I could go to the other hall and try something else. The absolute freedom for us to play what we want and how we want, and for as long as we want, is wonderful.

The CMS workshop was a really amazing experience for me.  The amount of insight, sheer number of new ideas, concepts, and considerations that I gleaned over the week is truly immense.

I think that the time is really, really right for CMS right now; there’s a generation of young, college-age-and-twenty-something musicians like me who came up through the growing ‘institutional music system’ who are looking for a low-dogma space to… be themselves, learn about MUSIC without being weighed down by historical trappings of “correctness,” experiment, and learn.  CMS could well be that environment for them.

I was very satisfied with the whole experience. I came in with little expectations. Took it all in, and it turned out to be a life changing experience, albeit a short one.

Being a part of Karl’s Orchestra. It’s a feeling unlike any I’ve experienced during both my classical and pop upbringings. Being a part of something that’s random and indeterminate can only work with the right leader. Karl’s conducting was a revelation for me, as it surely must be for countless others.

As an emerging artist and teacher, I left the workshop feeling hopeful and inspired. As an improviser who was surrounded by Conservatory-minded fanatics for so many years, I felt less alone and more at home with kindred folk. I feel that the CMS approach to music should be a part of mainstream music education, and this experience reminded me of one of the fundamental aspects of music that eludes even some of the most seasoned virtuosos: listening.

Nothing was boring. Some concepts were already familiar, but they need to be continually revisited and rehearsed. I thought that overall the sessions were able to meet everyone at his or her level.

To be at CMS for those four days and to have nothing else to do but play and absorb music was like paradise.

But what I got, and always have gotten from CMS, is validation that being a musician is simply a way to exist in the world. It has nothing to do with whether or not music is your profession; it really doesn’t even have to do with whether you’re “good.” It was vital for me to hear Karl reaffirm that expressing notes and tones is an act of compassion.

This is an extraordinary and unequalled opportunity to come face to face with yourself as a musician and to bask in an atmosphere in which whatever is uniquely your own expression is given higher value than it’s likely to receive in any other learning environment.

The content was challenging – not hard in the sense that organic chemistry is hard, but the best workshops challenged your preconceptions and encouraged you to explore new ideas and concepts and rethink your approach to and relationship with your playing.

I really enjoyed the opportunity during the jams to stretch out with fellow participants and to try to use and develop some of the things we learned in workshops during the day.

Karl Berger’s Improvisers Orchestra Returns to Shapeshifter Lab

The KBIO continues to turn improvisational ideas developed in the 7:00 pm workshop/ rehearsal into a fully formed 8:15 pm performance. Conducted in Karl’s inimitable style, developed at the legendary Creative Music Studio, this orchestra of extraordinary improvisers explores original themes as well as melodies from the world’s folk traditions and compositions written by the likes of Don Cherry or Ornette Coleman, as well as musical ideas  that arise spontaneously. One of the orchestra’s trademarks is  Ingrid Sertso’s uncanny vocalization and poetry. A special guest will be the great Mexican guitarist Omar Tamez.

This Thursday’s performance at Shapeshifter Lab features Warren Smith (drums), Joe Hertenstein, John Pietaro, Hollis Headrick (percussion) Max Johnson, Nicolas Letman (bass), Omar Temiz, Harvey Valdes, James Keepnews (guitar), John Ehis, (mandolin), Rocco John Iacovone (soprano sax), Ras Moshe (tenor sax, flute), Yoni Kretzmer, James Lewis (tenor sax), Patrick Brennan, Mercedes Figueras (alto sax), Avram Fever (bass clarinet) Bill Ylitalo (baritone sax, alto flute, piccolo flute)Jason Candler (clarinet) Thomas Heberer, Matt Lavelle (cornet), Westbrook Johnson (trombone), Sylvain Leroux (African flutes), Yukari Watanabe (alto flute), Nick Gianni (bass flute), Ken Ya Kawaguchi, (shakuhachi flute), Sana Nagano, Ernesto Llorens (violin), Federico Papi (cello), Gian Luigi Diana (electronic sounds), Ingrid Sertso (vocals), and surprise guests.

Recent reviews paint a vivid picture of the KBIO proceedings:

Karl Berger has been a pioneer in large-scale jazz improvisation longer than just about anybody, which explains why his Improvisers Orchestra swings as hard, and interestingly, and often hauntingly as they do…

Berger is an elegant and economical pianist, which informs how he conducts….

Like the best big bands, this crew use the entirety of their dynamic range. The ensemble weren’t often all playing at once, making those lush crescendos all the more towering and intense….…with the phantasmagorical sweep of the Gil Evans Orchestra and the rough-and-tumble bustle of the Mingus bands. The camaraderie and warmth of the repartee between the orchestra and conductor – and among the orchestra itself – was visceral.
— Lucid Culture

The suite-like performances have a warm, buoyant vibe issuing from brief folkloric-like motifs and the low-key, common-sense guidance Karl offers his players. They are mostly veteran musicians from avant rock and world music as well as jazz scenes, and can expand on simple themes paying utmost attention to dynamics and each other…..The collective’s intuited communication has attained a high point since shows began last April 2011                  —  — Howard Mandel

The compositions of Karl Berger have a clear-cut destination, with a beginning, a middle, and an ending…..Surprisingly, much of Mr. Berger’s music isn’t exactly free form but draws on lush harmonies and a well-defined relationship between foreground soloists and background…..The music is comparatively easy on the ears because Mr. Berger also relies on woodwinds, reeds and strings (as well as the soothing voice of Ingrid Sertso) rather than brass.         —– Will Friedwald

All net proceeds support the Creative Music Studio’s Archive Project, the preservation and re-mastering of over 400 historic CMS recordings by some of the finest innovators in music, in collaboration with Columbia University.

The Shapeshifter Lab is located in Brooklyn’s Park Slope area, 18 Whitwell Place. (off 1st Street between 3rd and 4th Ave). Cover is $15. For reservations call (646) 820-9452

CMF and HatchFund Team Up To Support CMS Archive: Deadline January 30

The Creative Music Foundation has partnered with HatchFund, the nonprofit crowd-sourcing organization dedicated to the arts, to raise $4,000 to support the CMS Archive Project.  CMF’s relationship with the nonprofit American Composers Forum enabled it to work with HatchFund. The campaign, running until January 30, 2014, will help CMF restore, digitize and preserve rare recordings from over 400 concerts that took place at the Creative Music Studio between 1973 and 1984. Artists include: Jimmy Giuffre, Ed Blackwell, Don Cherry, Oliver Lake, Olu Dara, Colin Walcott and Cecil Taylor, among hundreds of others. The project can be viewed here:

http://www.hatchfund.org/project/creative_music_studio_archive_restoration_project

The CMS Archive Project has three goals: 1) to restore, preserve and digitize the tapes for posterity; 2) to return the re-mastered versions to the musicians who made them, free of charge; and 3) to share the music with fans around the world by producing a series of 3-CD box sets, the Creative Music Studio Archive Project Series.  CMF needs $25,000 to finish restoring the remaining 83 tapes in its vast archive, which will be housed at Columbia University’s Library for posterity.

The tapes are old and brittle; some are no longer playable. Time is the enemy; over time, the tapes deteriorate. The sooner CMF can digitize and re-master them, then the risk of losing this historically and musically important archive will be minimized.

CMF is offering the following incentives to people who donate money on HatchFund.org:

$25      Limited edition ‘surprise’ CD by a CMS guiding artist

$50      First edition of 3-CD box set

$100    Autographed first edition of 3-CD box set

$250    Your name on the packaging as a member of the ‘producer’s circle’

$500    A catalog of the complete CMS Archive and your choice of any recording

The Creative Music Foundation has partnered with Columbia University’s Library to preserve the CMS Archive for posterity. CMS is giving Columbia the full archive of recorded tapes, along with memorabilia and photographs from CMS. CMS co-founder Karl Berger and audio engineer (and former CMS participant) Ted Orr are going through each tape, lovingly digitizing them and re-mastering them, a time consuming process that’s as much a labor of love as it is technical.  The digitized, re-mastered recordings will be available at the Columbia University Library for scholars or others who want to enjoy and learn from them.

As part of its nonprofit mission, CMF is offering Guiding Artists who made these rare recordings a digitized version for their unrestricted use free-of-charge. At the discretion of the Guiding Artists, selections of the re-mastered, digitized recordings will be made available in CD compilations to help raise money for the Creative Music Foundation. CMF is partnering with American Composers Forum and its Innova recording label to release these compilations. Each volume will feature three compact discs full of rare recordings divided into small ensemble, orchestral and world music performances. Two volumes will be released annually, beginning in winter 2014.

More information on the CMS Archive Project is available here.

CMS Announces 2014 Workshops June 9 – 13 and September 30 – October 4

The Creative Music Studio continues its resurgence, offering two four-day workshops in 2014 at the well-appointed Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY. Like its predecessors in 2013, the workshops – June 9 – 13 and September 30 – October 4 — will feature renowned musicians and educators from all over the world and from many of the world’s musical traditions. Deadline to register for the June workshop is May 19, 2014. Online registration is available here:

https://thriva.activenetwork.com/Reg4/Form.aspx?IDTD=5607674&RF=3709104&Product=13020890

Two highly successful four-day workshops in May and October, 2013 at the Full Moon Resort re-ignited CMS and its nonprofit parent, the Creative Music Foundation.  Positive feedback from those workshops prompted CMS to offer two more workshops in 2014, the first during the peak of spring and the second during the height of autumn when the Catskill leaves are most colorful.

 CMS Workshop Guiding Artists in 2013 included: Vijay Iyer, Dave Douglas, John Medeski, Oliver Lake, Don Byron, Peter Apfelbaum, Tony Malaby, Cyro Baptista, Marilyn Crispell, Steven Bernstein, Jason Hwang, Kirk Knuffke, Kenny Wessel, Steve Gorn, Mark Helias, Tom Rainey, Thomas Buckner, Harvey Sorgen, Tani Tabbal, Ken Filiano, Omar Tamez, and John Menegon, in addition to Creative Music Foundation co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso.

 CMS Workshops feature four days of intensive workshops, master classes, concerts and informal jam sessions that inspire active listening, personal expression, improvisation and musical exploration. Musicians of any instrument, including voice, are welcome as are non-musicians.  Adults who played music earlier in their lives can benefit from this lifelong learning opportunity that offers participants a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn from and play with music masters, and to simply spend time with them in an informal, personal setting.

“In the CMS tradition, the 2103 workshops offered not only profound teachings from music masters but also gave participants game-changing perspectives,” said Karl Berger. “And the workshop inspired remarkable musical sharing and highlights. The Guiding Artists and Participants all asked us to do more workshops. The 2014 workshops promise to be a magical experience for all of us.”

 A recap of the May, 2013 workshop is at: http://www.creativemusicfoundation.org/creative-music-studio-40th-anniversary-workshop-recap-four-day-intensive.html. A video recap can be viewed below:

A recap of CMS’s October, 2013 is at: http://www.creativemusicfoundation.org/fall-workshop-recap-2013.html. It includes this short video featuring testimonials from workshop participants:

A typical day at the CMS 40th Anniversary Workshop is:

8:00 – 9:30             Breakfast

9:30 – 10:00           Body Awareness

10:15 – 11:00         Rhythm/Voice Awareness, including the GaMaLa Taki practice

11:15 – 1:00           Orchestral Improvisation Workshop

1:00 – 2:15             Lunch

2:30 – 4:30             All Instruments Workshop with Guiding Artists

4:45 – 6:00            Master Class with Guiding Artist

6:00 – 6:30             Listening Meditation

6:30 – 8:00             Dinner

8:00 – 9:30             Concert with Guiding Artists

9:30 – ?                  Participant concerts and jams, unscheduled sessions

 

Late night consists of playing music, unscheduled sessions, conversations, bonfires, or simply stargazing at Full Moon’s gorgeous location in the heart of the Catskill Mountains. The non-traditional atmosphere of the Creative Music Studio Workshop encourages participants to experiment, push beyond limits, genres and categories, to take risks, and to develop their own deeply personal musical expression.

CMS’s parent nonprofit, the Creative Music Foundation, is working to offer full and partial scholarships for the workshop. For more information and online registration, please call the Full Moon Resort, 845-254-8009, email: music@fullmoonresort.com, or click here to register:

https://thriva.activenetwork.com/Reg4/Form.aspx?IDTD=5607674&RF=3709104&Product=13020890.

More information will be made available on this site as Guiding Artists are announced in the coming weeks.


Karl Berger and Kirk Knuffke Record in Woodstock

Karl Berger and cornetist Kirk Knuffke recently recorded an album of duets at Sertso Studio In Woodstock, NY. The collaboration is an outgrowth of the work they did together at CMS’s Fall 2013 Workshop. During performances at the workshop, a strong musical chemistry was obvious and the two realized they had to work more together. The recording will feature compositions by both Berger and Knuffke, as well as some improvised pieces. The tracks are currently being edited and mixed, with a recorded album expected to be released in Spring. On the recording, Berger plays vibraphone, piano and melodica, a nice complement to Kirk’s cornet.

“Kirk reminds me of Don Cherry,” said Berger. “His sound, open, fluid, and pure, is so welcoming.” Said Kirk, “Playing in the Improvisers Orchestra was my first exposure to Karl and the vast amount of wisdom he’s able to impart. Getting to know him these past years through the workshop and playing with him in more intimate settings there showed me how musically aligned we are.” A recap of the workshop is at: http://www.creativemusicfoundation.org/fall-workshop-recap-2013.html

CMF Reaches HatchFund Goal – Campaign Extended to February 28

The Creative Music Foundation’s crowd-sourcing campaign with the HatchFund, the nonprofit crowd-sourcing organization dedicated to the arts, met its minimum goal of  $4,000 to support the CMS Archive Project.  Due to this success, HatchFund is extending the campaign to February 28 with the aim of helping CMF reach its maximum goal of $11,000. CMF’s relationship with the nonprofit American Composers Forum enabled it to work with HatchFund. The campaign will help CMF restore, digitize and preserve rare recordings from over 500 concerts that took place at the Creative Music Studio between 1973 and 1984. Artists include: Jimmy Giuffre, Ed Blackwell, Don Cherry, Oliver Lake, Olu Dara, Colin Walcott and Cecil Taylor, among hundreds of others.

The project can be viewed here:

http://www.hatchfund.org/project/creative_music_studio_archive_restoration_project

The CMS Archive Project has three goals: 1) to restore, preserve and digitize the tapes for posterity; 2) to return the re-mastered versions to the musicians who made them, free of charge; and 3) to share the music with fans around the world by producing a series of 3-CD box sets, the Creative Music Studio Archive Project Series.  CMF needs $25,000 to finish restoring the remaining 83 tapes in its vast archive, which will be housed at Columbia University’s Library for posterity.

The tapes are old and brittle; some are no longer playable. Time is the enemy; over time, the tapes deteriorate. The sooner CMF can digitize and re-master them, then the risk of losing this historically and musically important archive will be minimized.

CMF is offering the following incentives to people who donate money on HatchFund.org:

$25      Limited edition ‘surprise’ CD by a CMS guiding artist

$50      First edition of 3-CD box set

$100    Autographed first edition of 3-CD box set

$250    Your name on the packaging as a member of the ‘producer’s circle’

$500    A catalog of the complete CMS Archive and your choice of any recording

The Creative Music Foundation has partnered with Columbia University’s Library to preserve the CMS Archive for posterity. CMS is giving Columbia the full archive of recorded tapes, along with memorabilia and photographs from CMS. CMS co-founder Karl Berger and audio engineer (and former CMS participant) Ted Orr are going through each tape, lovingly digitizing them and re-mastering them, a time consuming process that’s as much a labor of love as it is technical.  The digitized, re-mastered recordings will be available at the Columbia University Library for scholars or others who want to enjoy and learn from them.

As part of its nonprofit mission, CMF is offering Guiding Artists who made these rare recordings a digitized version for their unrestricted use free-of-charge. At the discretion of the Guiding Artists, selections of the re-mastered, digitized recordings will be made available in CD compilations to help raise money for the Creative Music Foundation. CMF is partnering with American Composers Forum and its Innova recording label to release these compilations. Each volume will feature three compact discs full of rare recordings divided into small ensemble, orchestral and world music performances. Two volumes will be released annually, beginning in winter 2014.

More information on the CMS Archive Project is available here.

CMS Archive Project CD Selections In Production

The first volume of the Creative Music Studio Archive Selections Series is in production.  Preserved through digitization and re-mastering, the audio files and package designs were sent to Innova, the recording label of the American Composers Forum, in late January.  CD box sets, containing rare material by Charles Brackeen, Ed Blackwell, Oliver Lake, Nana Vasconcelos, Ursula Oppens and others, will hit retails shelves in April.

The three CD box set is the first of several planned that harvest gems from the impressive CMS Archive Project, nearly 500 hours of concerts recorded at CMS from 1973-1984.  The first volume, CMS Archive Selections Vol. 1, features three CDs: small ensembles; orchestral; and world music.   Some of the production costs for the CMS Archive Project were covered by scores of donations via crowd-sourcing campaigns CMF conducted with Kickstarter and Indiegogo. A third campaign through the HatchFund will raise money for the second volume of the CMS Archive Series CD box set.

CMS Archive Selection Volume 1 contains the following:

The Small Ensembles CD features Ed Blackwell/Charles Brackeen duets (1980);  David Izenzon trio with CMF co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso (1977);  Frederic Rzewski/Ursula Oppens duets (1978);  and a duet with Leroy Jenkins and James Emery (1977).

The Orchestral CD features compositions by Olu Dara (1981), Oliver Lake (1976 and 1979) and Roscoe Mitchell (1977), all with the CMS Orchestra, comprised of professional musicians and CMS participants.

The World Music CD features the Turkish Coltrane, Ismet Siral, Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos (1979) and Foday Musa Suso with the Mandingo Griot Society (1980).

Former CMS participant Ted Orr is the audio engineer for the project, with CMF Co-Founder Karl Berger and CMF Executive Director Rob Saffer as producers.

The first volume of CMS Archive Selections will also be used as ‘perks’ for those who donated to this project via Kickstarter, Indiegogo and through CMF directly.  The second volume will be given to donors who supported CMF through the HatchFund campaign.  CMF expects to mail out CDs sometime in April and will make CDs and digital downloads available on its website shortly thereafter.  The CD box sets will also be sold in stores, on Innova.mu, and through iTunes.

The Creative Music Foundation has partnered with Columbia University’s Library to preserve the CMS Archive for posterity. CMS is giving Columbia the full archive of recorded tapes, along with memorabilia and photographs from CMS. CMS co-founder Karl Berger and audio engineer (and former CMS participant) Ted Orr are going through each tape, lovingly digitizing them and re-mastering them, a time consuming process that’s as much a labor of love as it is technical.  The digitized, re-mastered recordings will be available at the Columbia University Library for scholars or others who want to enjoy and learn from them.

As part of its nonprofit mission, CMF is offering Guiding Artists who made these rare recordings a digitized version for their unrestricted use free-of-charge. At the discretion of the Guiding Artists, selections of the re-mastered, digitized recordings will be made available in CD compilations to help raise money for the Creative Music Foundation. CMF is partnering with American Composers Forum and its Innova recording label to release these compilations. Each volume will feature three compact discs full of rare recordings divided into small ensemble, orchestral and world music performances. Two volumes will be released annually, beginning in winter 2014.

More information on the CMS Archive Project is available here

Karl Berger’s Improvisers Orchestra Announces Spring Performances at Shapeshifter Lab and El Taller

Thursday and Saturday Night Shows Feature Open Rehearsals Followed by Full Performances Begin April 3

Karl Berger’s Improvisers Orchestra starts its new season at Brooklyn’s Shapeshifter Lab and at El Taller on New York’s Upper West Side, beginning April 3. Founded in 2011, KBIO has performed over 60 times with a revolving cast of nearly 75 professional musicians.  Each show features an open workshop/rehearsal, followed by a full performance.

KBIO Performances at Shapeshifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn, NY  (between 1st and Carroll St. in Park Slope) begin at 7pm on Thursdays April 3, May 1, and June 5.

KBIO Performances at El Taller,  2710 Broadway, New York, NY (at 104th Street), begin at 7:30 pm on Saturdays, April 19, and May 17.

KBIO performances typically consist of an orchestra of 30 or more professional string, horn, reed, and percussion soloists who turn improvisational ideas developed in the open workshop/rehearsals into fully formed performances.  Karl introduces an exciting approach and experience of blending and harmonizing improvised sounds and rhythms in constantly shifting instrumentations.

Conducted in Karl’s inimitable style, developed at the legendary Creative Music Studio, this orchestra of extraordinary improvisers explores original compositions by Karl Berger as well as melodies from the world’s folk traditions, and themes written by visionaries such as Don Cherry or Ornette Coleman, as well as musical ideas that arise spontaneously in solo/duo/trio improvisations by the orchestra’s musicians. One of the orchestra’s trademarks is Ingrid Sertso’s uncanny vocalizations and poetry.

The growing roster of KBIO musicians include percussionists Warren Smith, Joe Hertenstein, Lou Grassi, drums, John Pietaro, Hollis Headrick , bassists Ken Filiano, Max Johnson, Adam Lane, James Liam Annett, Tomas Ulrich, cello, violists Judith Insell, Chern Hwei Fung, Jason Hwang, violinists Frederica Krier, Sana Nagano, trumpeters Thomas Heberer, Brian Groder, Steven Bernstein, trombonist Westbrook Johnson, Yasuno Katsuki, euphonium, Ken Ya Kawaguchi, shakuhachi, Sylvain Leroux, Yukari Watanabe, flutes, Ras Moshe, flute, tenor sax , Bill Ylitalo, piccolo flute, bariton sax, Blaise Siwula, Jason Candler, Miguel Malla, clarinets, Michael Lytle, Josh Sinton, bass clarinet, Ed Rollins, oboe, Sara Schoenbeck, bassoon, Catherine Sikora, Avram Fever, soproano sax, Welf Dorr, Patrick Brennan, Mercedes Figueras, alto sax, Peter Apfelbaum, James Brendon Lewis, Yoni Kretschmer,  tenor sax, Sean Sonderegger, baritone sax, Harvey Valdes, Kenny Wessel, guitar, John Ehlis, mandolin, Thomas Buckner, Ingrid Sertso, vocals, Karl Berger, and keyboards.

KBIO performances benefit the Creative Music Studio Archive Project, preserving and re-mastering over 400 historic CMS concert recordings from the 1970s and 80s. Some artists heard in these recordings include: Dave Holland, Don Cherry, Jimmy Giuffre, Wadada Leo Smith, The Art Ensemble Of Chicago, George Lewis, Carla Bley, Nana Vasconcelos, Trilok Gurtu, Collin Walcott, Kalaparusha, Oliver Lake, Ismet Siral, Ed Blackwell, and Cecil Taylor. Columbia University Library houses the CMS Archive for posterity.