Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Creative Music Studio (CMS) Kicks Off Its Archive Series with A Fine First Volume
Woodstock's Creative Music Studios was a seminal force in new music education, founded by Karl Berger, Ornette Coleman and Ingrid Sertso in 1971. During its tenure in the '70s-'80s it held some excellent concerts, and apparently most if not all were recorded.
We are fortunate that the CMS Archive Project plans to release many of these in an ongoing series, the first volume of which is now available. It is an auspicious beginning.
The first volume concentrates on three ensembles of a contrasting sort. First up is a rare set by acclaimed Ornette bassist David Izenzon, who didn't do much (that I am aware of) as a leader in terms of recordings. He joins with Ms. Serto on vocals and Mr. Berger on piano in an interesting series of chamber pieces.
Next up is Oliver Lake with the CMS Orchestra in 1976 and 1979. The soloists are Mr. Lake, James Harvey on trombone, and Michael Gregory on guitar. It's excellent and quite rare and it's great to hear the soloists interact with the orchestra. One only wishes there was more of it. Perhaps there will be.
The final segment is a very lively set by kora master Foday Susa along with Hamid Drake on drums, John Marsh, e-bass, and Adam Rudolph percussion. This is the Mandingo Griot Society, a superb fusion of West African and contemporary American rhythmic and melodic concepts. The three cuts show Suso and company taking no prisoners. This is the band live and they are supercharged! It's an excellent set and supplements their somewhat less exuberant but no less excellent recordings.
The disk has much to like about it. I recommend it wholeheartedly. No doubt there are more such gems in store and I wish the project all success. For more information on the series and how you can become a subscriber go to www.creativemusicstudio.org.