From The Wall Street Journal:”Preserving an Upstate Jazz Incubator” and Innova in the Mix

This is copyright protected, so just a couple of riffs.

APRIL 14, 2011

” ‘ This is where it all happened,’ Karl Berger said with a waved hand and a wistful look. Before him stretched a West Hurley, N.Y., soccer field where, 30 years ago, he’d organized two world-music festivals, before that term was common. Next to it stood a main house and several smaller buildings where, from 1976 through 1984, some of jazz’s most influential and freest-thinking musicians—and players representing diverse countries and disciplines—taught, learned, rehearsed, performed and lived, on and off.

This 45-acre estate, once a Catskills resort and now a dance-and-theater academy, was the third and final home of Creative Music Studio, founded in 1971 by Mr. Berger; his wife, Ingrid Sertso; and saxophonist Ornette Coleman. CMS was no jazz institute, although it anticipated such organizations. Nor was it a school in the strict sense, yet it changed the way improvisation is taught.

Perhaps the most tangible evidence that something special happened at CMS is some 400 hours of recordings, now being restored and remastered by Ted Orr, a musician who studied at CMS, and intended for an archive at Columbia University, provided full funding is secured. (The project will cost about $120,000, Mr. Berger said; one-quarter of the digital remastering is complete.)

Nowhere is the studio’s influence more evident than in New York City, especially right now. On Friday, Mr. Berger will celebrate the 40th anniversary of CMS’s founding with a performance at the Stone, the East Village music space run by Mr. Zorn. On Saturday, Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies will host a daylong symposium, gathering distinguished CMS alumni. On Sunday evening at Columbia’s Miller Theater, Mr. Berger will conduct students from the university’s Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program, where he is artist-in-residence. And on Monday, Mr. Berger will return to the Stone, inaugurating a weekly workshop series to help fund the archive.

Mr. Berger in 2010

At Mr. Berger’s studio recently, Mr. Orr played a riveting 1978 recording of saxophonists Jimmy Giuffre and Lee Konitz, then one of Mr. Cherry. A three-CD set on Innova Records drawn from this material is planned for the fall, with the Columbia archive the ultimate goal. The musicians will receive the digitized recordings to use as they wish. “They created the music, so they own it,” Mr. Berger said. ‘We only created the environment.’ ”

See the full article here.