Reviews that mention Karl Berger

August 29, 2017

Albert Mangelsdorff

And His Friends
MPS Records 0211961MSW

Rüdiger Carl Inc.

King Alcohol (New Version)

Corbett vs. Dempsey CvsD CD 032

Only about 2½ years separate the improvisations on these reissued CDs from one another. But like examining Russian society just before and shortly after the 1917 Soviet revolution, the contours of two distinct musical cultures are in play.

When the six duets that make up And His Friends was recorded in 1968-1969, Albert Mangelsdorff (born 1928) was probably the best known German trombonist, if not the best-known German Jazz musicians, of his time. Having mastered modern Jazz with his famous quintet of the 1960s, by late in that decade the Frankfurt-born player was investigating multiphonic solo playing, worked with the Globe Unity Orchestra and within a couple of years would record extensively with the likes of tenor saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, pianist Fred van Hove and drummer Han Bennink. MORE

October 11, 2015

Alexander von Schlippenbach

Globe Unity
MPS DL (EAN/UPC 4250644881299)

Listening to this crucial session from nearly a half-century ago from the vantage point of 2015, suggests just how timeless some Free Jazz remains. Conversely it reminds us how much of its time programs like this one are. Globe Unity – the performance and LP which birthed a long-running European Free Music aggregation – appeared historically in between two Jazz milestones, John Coltrane’s Ascension in 1965 and Peter Brötzmann’s Machine Gun in 1968. Unlike the octet featured on the latter or the 11 players on Ascension, Globe Unity consists of 14 musicians, a small big band with strings, brass, reeds and percussion represented. MORE

May 22, 2015

Aki Takase/Alexander Von Schlippenbach

So Long, Eric
Intakt CD 239

Heliocentric Counterblast

Planetary Tunes

Enja Yellowbird ENJ-9726

Duduvudu

The Gospel According to Dudu Pukwana

Edgetone EDT 4144

When it comes to serious improvised music, tribute discs are as likely to be a bane as a boon. That’s because the artist involved faces a double challenge. Firstly can the player salute the honoree in such a way that the music will amplify rather than diminish that person’s reputation? Plus if that’s done properly will the resulting product be imaginative rather than an unoriginal run though of familiar tunes? Luckily the sessions here stay away from the overly familiar Miles-Louis-Duke-Trane team to honor less frequently venerated innovators. But while each session is enjoyable and while there are pleasurable and cultivated sounds on tap, none attains the level of creative freshness that the prototypes did. MORE

December 6, 2014

Creative Music Studio

Archive Selections, Vol. 1
Innova 805

By Ken Waxman

Brainchild of Ornette Coleman, Karl Berger and Ingrid Ingrid Sertso, the Woodstock, N.Y.-based Creative Music Studio (CMS) has had an influence that continues to resonate past its physical presence from 1971-1984. Dedicated to erasing the false barriers among different musics, its workshops and concerts not only helped spread freer sounds among players identified with jazz or so-called classical music, but with participants from overseas welcomed, it helped birth a sophisticated variant of world music. MORE

December 10, 2012

Karl Berger/Dom Minasi

Synchronicity
NatchtRecords No #

By Ken Waxman

Highlighting his skills on both piano and vibes, this unpresumptuous yet arresting duo session could be subtitled: Two sides of Karl Berger. Yet the impression that resonates after digesting the dozen improvisations that make up this meeting with guitarist Dom Minasi is how seamlessly both are able to balance inside-outside sensibilities.

It’s not surprising however. Throughout their careers – Berger (b. Heidelberg 1935) and Minasi (b. NYC 1943) – have individually walked that sonic tightrope. An innovator who founded Woodstock’s Creative Music Studio with Ornette Coleman in 1971 and was active playing with Don Cherry, the Globe Unity Orchestra and other jazz experimenters, Berger also incorporates so-called world music into his sound and has arranged sessions for popsters such as Natalie Merchant and Better Than Ezra. Author of several books on jazz theory, chord substitution and improvising, Minasi not only plays in the abstract music realm with violinist Jason Kao Hwang and bassist Ken Filiano among others, but frequently accompanies singers and specializes in drastic reinterpretations of Ellington and American songbook classics. MORE

August 16, 2012

Steve Lacy

The Sun (1967-73)
Emanem 5022

Steve Lacy Quintet

Estilhaços

Clean Feed CF 247 CD

Comfortable in his status as an expatriate musician, by the late 1960s soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy (1934-2004) was ensconced in Europe experimenting with different configurations. When he finally settled on his unique version of the quintet format, he maintained it on-and-off for the next quarter century. These valuable reissues of tracks from 1967, 1968, 1972 and 1973 not only itemize his early combo experiments, but also demonstrate the subtle shifts in Lacy’s playing at that time that would characterize his work from then on. MORE

July 12, 2011

Karl Berger & Dave Holland

All Kinds of Time
Sackville SKCD2-3010

Julius Hemphill

Roi Boyé & the Gotham Mintrels

Sackville SKCD2-3014/15

Oliver Lake/Julius Hemphill

Buster Bee

Sackville SKCD2-3016

George Lewis

The Solo Trombone Record

Sackville SKCD2-3012

Anthony Davis

Of Blues and Dreams

Sackville SKCD2-3020

Karl Berger & Dave Holland

All Kinds of Time

Sackville SKCD2-3010

Roscoe Mitchell
MORE

November 7, 2009

Old Dog

By Any Other Name
Porter Records PRCD-4027

Flow Trio

Rejuvenation

ESP-Disk 4052

John Coltrane dominated the concepts of nearly every young tenor saxophonist between the late 1950s and early 1980s – and his work is still one yardstick against which reedists are measured today. His influence was – and is – so all-pervasive, that even those saxophonists who forged their own identity often referred consciously or subconsciously to Trane’s work.

Oddly enough though the majority of reedists fastened onto Coltrane’s Hard Bop or Modal periods, with very few willing to deal with the timbral and textural achievements the sax man advanced just before his untimely death in 1967. Fearless and individualistic, New York-based Louie Belogenis on the other hand, is someone who has faced that challenge head on. MORE

November 7, 2009

Flow Trio

Rejuvenation
ESP-Disk 4052

Old Dog

By Any Other Name

Porter Records PRCD-4027

John Coltrane dominated the concepts of nearly every young tenor saxophonist between the late 1950s and early 1980s – and his work is still one yardstick against which reedists are measured today. His influence was – and is – so all-pervasive, that even those saxophonists who forged their own identity often referred consciously or subconsciously to Trane’s work.

Oddly enough though the majority of reedists fastened onto Coltrane’s Hard Bop or Modal periods, with very few willing to deal with the timbral and textural achievements the sax man advanced just before his untimely death in 1967. Fearless and individualistic, New York-based Louie Belogenis on the other hand, is someone who has faced that challenge head on. MORE

July 3, 2009

Musica Elettronica Viva

MEV 40
New World Records 80675-2

Consisting of a nucleus of academically trained composers who promoted free improvisation and group interaction, Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV) was the sort of musical aggregation that could only have been born in the 1960s.

Yet as this absorbing four-CD set of MEV performances – from its beginning in 1967, to its 40th anniversary – proves, the group’s triumphs are musically sophisticated as well as sociologically notable. Willingly subsuming the vaulted tradition of a single composer into group interaction, MEV’s most notable pieces added the smarts of jazz improvisers and the sonic versatility of increasingly complex electronic instruments to the compositional stew. Furthermore, the group has survived all these years because it never allowed electronics to submerge its initial humanistic and populist approach. MORE

December 1, 2007

Don Cherry

Live at Café Montmartre 1966
ESP-Disk 4032

Transferred to CD from a vintage Danish radio broadcast, this impressive live disc features American trumpeter Don Cherry leading an international quintet through a set of originals and free improvisations.

One notable sidelight is, how barely six years after the breakthrough New York gigs of Ornette Coleman’s quartet with the trumpeter, Cherry was able to forge a quintet of non-Americans – German vibist Karl Berger, Argentinean tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri, Italian drummer Aldo Romano and Danish bassist Bo Stief – into a unified combo fully conversant with his new musical language. MORE