“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...”
“…in a sense any project in which Berger takes the helm involves playing naked. As a disciple of Ornette Coleman’s harmolodics, as a sideman for Don Cherry’s early ventures into the fusion of jazz and world music, as the eccentric visionary behind the Woodstock-based Creative Music Studio, and now as mastermind and conductor of the Stone Workshop Orchestra, Berger has practiced and encouraged the art of opening oneself to the immediate, shrugging off preconceptions in order to hear the options inherent in the here and now.”
The Downbeat interview, that never made it to Downbeat is on a wordpress blog.
The legacy of the Creative Music Studio persists—if you listen
“…attention to sense perceptions and encouragement of imaginative play remain touchstones of the CMS method, along with study of the rhythmic exercise called GaMaLa Taki (for its syllabic division into three beats, and two), the overtone series and harmonics. “These are more basic, ground level elements of music than Western tradition teaches, starting with pitches written on staffs,” says Berger.“
“…the study of the fundamental rhythmic exercise “GamalaTiKa,” the overtone series and harmonics offers a young player more direct connection to the “playing” aspect of music than does learning to read scores. This is the kind of pedagogy that could take root all over, encouraging spontaneous, personalized music wherever it reaches. That’s what happened last time, as the generation of CMS participants who emerged included percussionist Adam Rudolph, pianist Marilyn Crispell, tambin flutist Sylvan Leroux, bansuri flutist Steve Gorn, alto saxist Dan Davis, guitarist James Emery … trumpeter Steven Bernstein, multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum and many others. More good music, mixing tradition and creativity, all the time!”
“…Its (CMS) instructors were active performers and bandleaders, and they used the school as laboratory and playground. …Certainly the discoveries of the students — there were never more than 30 a term — were matched by the discoveries of the teachers. The studio did not promote one style because its teachers were too stylistically diverse. But a handful of important bands or records would not have happened without the studio as a spur, where the players were introduced to one another and the ideas were hatched.“