On Sunday, May 9, at International House, Karl Berger’s In The Spirit Of Don Cherry will be realizing a critical instance of the radical culture that grounds experimental musics and free jazz. The septet will be treating select works by visionary sound-artist Don Cherry as living texts that necessitate perpetual re-examination and re-interpretation rather than as static, historical documents that are looked back upon, distant and frozen in time.
Cherry’s grand body of work particularly demands such treatment, for his influence on the trajectory of, not just free jazz, but contemporary experimental musics as a whole, is monumental. By integrating seemingly disparate modes of sound, namely merging the North American jazz idiom with European, African, and Asian sound-languages, Cherry practiced a dynamic and new global sonic approach. His influence can be clearly heard across a wide spectrum of challenging contemporary musics, from free folk and free jazz to minimal drone and even various modes of psychedelic rock.
Karl Berger, founder of the Creative Music Studio, continues to embrace a similar cosmopolitan appreciation for seemingly disconnected and unbridgeable sound-worlds as did Cherry. The two worked together extensively beginning in the mid-60s, stretching the jazz category in previously unthinkable and exciting directions. The ensemble Berger has assembled for this special occasion, which features several Cherry collaborators, will re-animate Cherry’s spirit by critically exploring his remarkable catalogue. By treating his works in this way, Berger’s ensemble will open up even more possibilities within them, exemplifying how they speak, not just to the past, but the present and future of experimental musics and free jazz.
From 6-7PM at International House, Berger will also be participating in a public discussion alongside former Cherry collaborators Mark Helias and Peter Apfelbaum, hosted by jazz historian and musician John Szwed. Both are not-to-be-missed events.
Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. As a facilitator between artists and their audiences, Ars Nova Workshop works to inform, inspire and challenge listeners in order to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation and experimental music in contemporary culture.