Sunday, March 19th, 2017
Timucua Arts Foundation and The Civic Minded 5 present
Karl Berger Improvisers Orchestra
Timucua white house
2000 S. Summerlin Ave, Orlando
3:00 pm 0pen to the public workshop rehearsal
7:00 pm doors, 7:30 concert
Free admission, donations encouraged, all ages welcome
We’re employing the cm5 Leyden Jar here, trying to catch lightning in a bottle. Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso were our concert guests in June 2015, courtesy of their Master Artist residency at Atlantic Center For The Arts. A Central Florida version of their improvising/conducted/thematic orchestra assembled, workshopped and flew on the same day. The twenty-one members of this inchoate, high diving exercise glided past the Supertrain/Spruce Goose legacy assumed for a large-scale improvisational ensemble. Berger eventually conducted and employed every voice box in the venue. See the video below. Charles Glazer’s violin cadenza sits atop the room full of voices, an Ingrid Sertso poem, then a crescendo and diminuendo. The clip concludes with the First Movement of Berger and Sertso’s No Man Is An Island suite. Only that final movement found rehearsal in the afternoon workshop. That performance fell squarely into the W column. Berger and Sertso return to Florida this March for masterclasses, duo concerts and a 2017 variant of our Improvisers Orchestra.
Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso direct Woodstock, N.Y’.s non-profit Creative Music Foundation, started by Berger and Ornette Coleman back in 1971. The pastoral arts foundation had a fervent start including a board consisting of composers John Cage, George Russell, Gil Evans, Gunther Schuller and super-genius writer Buckminster Fuller. Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) has also shared the following artists in residence with Berger and Sertso’s Creative Music Studio: Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Allen Ginsberg, Cecil Taylor, Roscoe Mitchell, Sam Rivers and Marilyn Crispell.
Berger and Sertso also have parallels – both from Germany, performing with many of the same artists, moving to the U.S., teaching at progressive learning institutes in North America, and ultimately becoming directors of Creative Music Foundation.
Karl Berger moved into his current mode of operations after internalizing the 1961 Ornette Coleman Quartet opus This Is Our Music. The stylized album cover effectively doubled as a band portrait – one used to reveal Coleman trumpeter Don Cherry in Paris jazz club in 1966. The result was pivotal. Berger – a pianist and mallet percussionist approached Cherry with the idea of playing music. Cherry stated that rehearsals started the next day. That Don Cherry Quintet is heard on the ESP-Disk releases Live at Café Montmartre Vol. 1 and 2. A moderately expanded, yet super-powered septet pairing the quintet’s Gato Barbieri with Pharoah Sanders recorded one of Blue Note Records’ classic “Inside/Outside” discs; Symphony For Improvisers at the now legendary Van Gelder Studios in Engelwood Cliffs, New Jersey. Berger used that opportunity to stay, geographically, in the U.S. underground. Cherry’s musicians were exploring a variation of the Pan-African ecstatic music that John Coltrane was also recording. Equally notable, Blue Note’s Symphony For Improvisers served as an auspice that Karl Berger, Pharoah Sanders and Gato Barbieri would follow in their later work.
Vocalist and poet Ingrid Sertso became a steady U.S. resident by 1972, recording with Karl Berger and performing with Don Cherry, Sam Rivers, Jimmy Giuffre, Ed Blackwell, Lee Konitz, and others. She became a faculty member at the literary icon Naropa Institute in Boulder, Co., then the Banff Center for Fine Arts, and ultimately Berger’s Creative Music Studio.
The Creative Music Studio (CMS) remained in full-time operation between 1972 and 1984, serving as a worldwide training institute for World Jazz, incorporating stalwarts such as Anthony Braxton, Pauline Oliveros, Roscoe Mitchell, Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland and Lee Konitz with Brazil’s Naná Vasconcelos, Senegal’s Aiyb Dieng, Japan’s Zen Watazumi-doso, and India’s G.S. Zachdev. A well-known Creative Music Studio-influenced outcome is Codona, the ECM Records act featuring Don Cherry, Naná Vasconcelos and Oregon’s Colin Walcott.
Your workshop and concert (come to both) at Timucua white house feature concepts developed by Berger and Sertso at the Creative Music Studio, El Taller and John Zorn’s The Stone in NYC, Shapeshifter Labs in Gowanus, Brooklyn and other locations. Look for recognizable compositional outlines from Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and Turkish folk music brought to Creative Music Studio by the globe hopping Cherry. Coleman and Cherry’s genre redirecting themes meet with improvisational soloing and conducted, resonant collective playing more attuned to the World Jazz concepts than to big band swing.
Take part in the Timucua instant arts community created at each event by appearing willing – described by composer Anthony Braxton as the “friendly experiencer.” Timucua encourages a small plate dish and a bottle of wine for community distribution. We’ll see you there.