Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Don Cherry: Symphony for Improvisers

"Karl Berger, the jazz pianist, vibraphonist and conductor of improvisers, ran a workshop for his orchestra before its performance at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn on Thursday night. He uses a few simple hand signals for duration, attack and pitch, and the musicians wanted to be sure they were interpreting the specifics correctly. But Mr. Berger seemed more concerned with telling them something very general. 'Hear your sound as if you’re playing the sound of the whole group,' he told them, after they played a few motley, heaving phrases in unison together. (Karl Berger’s Improvisers Orchestra plays written material — melodies and frameworks — but much more of its music is orchestral improvisation in which there are, strictly speaking, no wrong notes.) 'You are the sound. You’re not just the voice within the sound. You’re the sound.' They played some more vast chords. ... The German-born Mr. Berger, 78, played with the trumpeter Don Cherry in Europe in the early 1960s, then moved to New York, where he worked in Cherry’s band and in the city’s wider circles of free and experimental jazz. (He can be heard on Cherry’s 1966 record 'Symphony for Improvisers.') ..." (Ben Ratliff, "An Incubator of Jazz Improvisation," New York Times, 4/19/13)

View catalog record here!


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