Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Different Music": The First Festival to Benefit the Creative Music Studio's Archive Project

Presenting two days of extraordinary music with CMS alumni and friends at the Colony Café, 22 Rock City Road in Woodstock, New York, on Saturday May 3rd, 8:00 pm and Sunday May 4th at 5:00 pm.

During the '70s and '80s, the Woodstock-based Creative Music Studio was considered the premier study center for contemporary creative music. Founded in 1971 by Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso and Ornette Coleman, CMS brought together leading innovators in the jazz and world music communities.

A project to preserve the CMS collection of over 400 recordings is underway. The "Different Music" festival to benefit this archive project will present two days of extraordinary music with CMS alumni and friends at the Colony Café, 22 Rock City Road in Woodstock, on Saturday May 3rd, 8:00pm and Sunday May 4th at 5:00pm.

Saturday May 3 at 8:00 pm
The CMS Orchestra "an improvising music extravaganza"

Conducted by Karl Berger and including Tani Tabbal, drums; John
Lindberg, bass; Ingrid Sertso, voice; Don Davis, sax and clarinet; Peter Buettner, sax and flute; Sylvain Leroux, flute and sax; Jayna Nelson, flutes; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Ted Orr, guitar; Joe Giardullo, soprano and sopranino sax; Rebecca Francks, trumpet; Steve Bernstein, trumpet; and
surprise guests.

Saturday May 3 at 9:30 pm
Futu Futu

This performance ushers in the return of the legendary Woodstock band with a World Beat Dance Party, with Joachim Lartey, Chris Lane, Ted Orr, Peter Buettner, Mike Coletti, Dean Jones, Jamiles Lartey.

Sunday May 4, 5:00 pm
Solo/Duo "gems of musical artistry"

Featuring Marilyn Crispell, Ingrid Sertso, Tom Schmidt, John Lindberg, Karl Berger, and surprise guests.

Sunday May 4 at 6:30 pm
Sylvain Leroux + Friends "West African echoes"

Organic music based on West African traditional forms, with Karl Berger, John Lindberg, and David Schommer.

Sunday May 4 at 8:00pm
Blob "spots and splashes of color that enlighten your brain"

Psychedelic experimental jamband with John Lindberg,Ted Orr, Harvey Sorgen.

Sunday May 4 at 9:30 pm
Ben Perowsky "leaves you feeling optimistic about the state of jazz"

Drum excellence with surprising turns.

The fundraising drive to preserve the CMS Archive will continue with performances throughout 2008/2009 including a concert on October 24 at Symphony Space in New York, with Anthony Braxton, Ingrid Sertso, Karl Berger, John Zorn, Bill Laswell, Steven Bernstein, Peter Apfelbaum and others to be announced.

The CMS Archive of audio and video tapes contains recordings from the CMS facilities in these recordings are Don Cherry, Anthony Braxton, Leo Smith, Foday Suso, Abdullah Ibrahim, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Giuffre, Frederic Rzewski, Carla Bley, Dave Holland, Paulo Moura, Nana Vasconcelos, Pauline Oliveros, Karl Berger, Baikida Carroll, Trilok Gurtu, Steve Gorn, Ismet Siral, Jack DeJohnette, Fred Frith, Oliver Lake, Lee Konitz, Leroy Jenkins, George Lewis, just to name a few.

CMS is credited as the birthplace of Worldjazz - the improvisational and compositional expansion of the world's musical traditions. Now one of the main driving forces in many styles of music, this concept was pioneered very early on at CMS, guided by authentic leaders.

Contact creativemusic[at] for more information.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jimmy Giuffre

Jimmy Giuffre has died. Giuffre was an important guiding artist at CMS because he served as a bridge between a more traditional, "mainstream" approach to jazz and some of the freer, "outside" approaches to improvisation. Too many who came to CMS were inclined toward the latter without much grounding in the former. Emily Hay credits Giuffre as the one who convinced her to stick with flute when she was interested in branching out to saxophones.

Here's an obituary from the Washington Post.

And here's an article that appeared in All About Jazz in 2003 that covers the range of Giuffre's career very nicely.

The quality of this video is not too good, but it's a nice opportunity to see Giuffre in his younger days as he was moving out of more traditional jazz structures. The absence of a drummer in his small groups became one of his hallmarks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Marilyn Crispell at Birdland April 29th

Marilyn Crispell came to CMS in 1977 and was one of a small number of folks who came with a strong foundation in formal musical education, having graduated from Boston's New England Conservatory of Music in 1968. It was at CMS where she made connections with Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor. You can see a video of her performing with Anthony in 1981, below. It's nice because it features another CMS alumnus who made his Braxton connection at CMS, trumpeter Hugh Ragin.

I was pleased to see this announcement for Marilyn's upcoming concert at Birdland, of all places.


April 29th, 6PM
315 W. 44th between 8th and 9th
For reservations and information call 212-5813080

Monday, April 21, 2008

Steve Gorn

Much of the "world music" excitement took place in the later years at CMS. And because I was there in some of the earlier years (1976, '77, '78, '79), I missed a lot of it, including Steve Gorn. Nonetheless, I did managed to meet him in 1994, and from our interview came this testimonial:

There clearly wasn't much financial reward [from teaching at CMS], but there was obviously something going on that inspired people. This brought in a number of musicians who were really exploring with ways to integrate non-Western music into a jazz context. Practically everyone that has been significant in exploring in that direction passed through CMS at some point or another (from Music Universe, Music Mind, page 137).

I found some Steve Gorn videos on YouTube, but the videos that I found on Steve's own site are much better. Please check him out. Buy his records and go to his concerts.Very beautiful, very peaceful. I like beautiful and peaceful, don't you?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Babatunde Olatunji

Babatunde Olatunji was another bright and loving spirit who contributed so much to CMS. He's also one whom I am sorry that I missed. I interviewed him on the phone, though, and it was clear to me that the man was infused with something joyous that others naturally wanted to be around to soak up.

It might seem odd, in a blog that's devoted to updates on the ongoing community of CMS, that this and the previous post are both dedicated to musicians who have gone on. Well, I was just so thrilled to have come across these videos, that I for the first time realized that this blog could also be a means for helping to keep the memory alive of those of the CMS community who have left the physical realm.

This first Olatunji video is a nice tribute to the man, made at his 75th birthday party. It's a fitting portrait of how much the man was loved, but also sad in that it was a time of decline, after which he soon left us, as noted at the end of the video. Kinda cool to see Joan Baez at the party, too.

The second is an in-studio performance that I believe was made for an instructional video. Please enjoy.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ed Blackwell

I was inspired recently by a young fellow--nineteen years old--from Connecticut named Kyle, who recently picked up Music Universe, Music Mind. Kyle was interested in my Ed Blackwell tales, and was led to remark, "Ed Blackwell is just a rarity, and anything of his deserves appreciation."

Can you believe that? Another rarity is the fact that such a young guy would even know who Ed Blackwell is, let alone have an appreciation of him.

Ed Blackwell, as much as anyone else I can think of, was the perfect embodiment of the spirit of CMS. He was a very loving, gentle, and generous soul. And the music just oozed out of him.I'm sure that he could have played with anyone and been right at home with what was happening. Africa, New Orleans, New York--Ray Charles, even!!!

Here, Kyle, you'll like this:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Frederic Rzewski

I've never seen Frederic Rzewski, even though he was very active as a guiding artist at CMS, especially in the early years. Our paths just never crossed. And, strangely enough, he is just one of those figures who I thought I'd never hear and never see perform.

Well, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, there are at least snippets available and opportunities to see and hear others play and talk about his music.

Here's a very nice little bit with pianist Sara Cahill talking about Rzewski and giving us some samples. (So disappointed, though, that she suggests that Rzewski wrote "Down by the Riverside.")

And here's the man, himself.

Here's probably as good a place as any to start to learn more about him.