Karl Berger and associates started the Creative Music Studio in upstate New York many decades ago as a forum for the new avant jazz, a place for people to learn, for artists of distinction to have residency and to concertize with the latest music.
Fortunately the tapes were rolling over the years and we now have a three-CD set that issues Archive Selections, Vol. 1 (Innova 805), the first installment in what one hopes will be a long series of releases.
The music is divided with each disk representing a particular category of the music: "Small Ensembles", "Orchestral Music" and "World Music". There is so much noteworthy music here that I can only touch glancingly on the program and its highlights.
"Small Ensembles" has some wonderful duos of Charles Brackeen and Ed Blackwell that make you once again realize what a loss it was when Ed passed. David Izenson makes a rare appearance with his own trio that includes Karl on piano and Ingrid Sertso on vocals. The Leroy Jenkins-James Emery Duo has some very concentrated free moments.
"Orchestral Music" is an especially intriguing disk because the logistical and financial considerations with putting out this kind of music means it is more rare than it should be. We get three sets of compositions, by Olu Dara, Oliver Lake and Roscoe Mitchell, all music of great interest.
Finally "World Music" gives us sets by Ismet Siral, Nana Vasconcelos, and Foday Suso and the Mandingo Griot Society, the latter being especially irresistible as Foday gets a real head of steam going with Hamid Drake, Adam Rudolph and John Marsh laying down some especially moving grooves underneath.
Well that in short is the bare skeleton of what this CD set is about. You should go to the Innova site to get the full details of the program. http://www.innova.mu/albums/creative-music-studio/archive-selections-vol-1
Not everything is a masterpiece, of course, but everything is of extraordinary interest for those who dig the advanced new music/avant jazz scene. If you are you will no doubt be as glad as I am to have this set to listen to repeatedly. It is a treasure! I look forward to subsequent volumes.