Born: March 30, 1935 Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
Karl Berger is a six time winner of the Downbeat Critics Poll as a jazz soloist, recipient of numerous Composition Awards ( commissions by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, European Radio and Television: WDR, NDR, SWF, Radio France, Rai Italy. SWF-Prize 1994 ). Professor of Composition, Artist-in-Residence at universities, schools and festivals worldwide ; PhD in Music Esthetics.
Karl Berger became noted for his innovative arrangements for recordings by Jeff Buckley (Grace), Natalie Merchant (Ophelia), Better Than Ezra, The Cardigans, Jonatha Brooke, Buckethead, Bootsie Collins, The Swans, Sly + Robbie, Angelique Kidjo a.o.; and for his collaborations with producers Bill Laswell, Alan Douglas (Operazone), Peter Collins, Andy Wallace, Craig Street, Alain Mallet, Malcolm Burn, Bob Marlett a.m.o. in Woodstock, NY. New York City, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Paris, Rome.
He recorded and performed with Don Cherry, Lee Konitz, John McLaughlin, Gunther Schuller, the Mingus Epitaph Orchestra, Dave Brubeck, Ingrid Sertso, Dave Holland, Ed Blackwell, Ray Anderson, Carlos Ward, Pharoah Sanders, Blood Ulmer, Hozan Yamamoto and many others at festivals and concerts in the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, India, Phillippines, Japan, Mexico, Brazil.
His recordings and arrangements appear on the Atlantic, Axiom, Black Saint, Blue Note, Capitol, CBS, Columbia Double Moon, Douglas Music, Elektra , EMI, Enja, Island, JVC, Knitting Factory, In&Out, MCA, Milestone, Polygram, Pye , RCA, SONY, Stockholm, Vogue a.o.
Founder and director of the Creative Music Foundation, Inc. , dba The Creative Music Studio, a not-for-profit corporation, dedicated to the research of the power of music and sound and the elements common to all of the world’s music forms; and to educational presentations through workshops, concerts , recordings, with a growing network of artists and CMS members worldwide .
Special areas of interest: Improvisation; world musical communications in ensembles/orchestras of soloists through modular compositions/arrangements; Rhythmic Training ( the GaMaLaTaKi system ): timing/attention/expression; R+ D of the elements governing the universal power of sound and music with emphasis on the healing power of sound and music.
“Karl Berger’s a great pure player: without getting into stylistic pigeonholes and without any amplification, he delivers a constantly satisfying mixture of colorative nuances and straight ahead swing.” —Downbeat Magazine
“The way Karl plays the vibes he should be president of the United States.” —Dave Brubeck
“The entire performance was among the gentlest, most subtle examples of a new jazz one is likely to heard, and Berger’s leaps on vibes seemed to summarize the comfortable, affirmative sprit of the music.” —Boston Phoenix
“This is music of great maturity and coolness....of a timesless and unpretentious beauty as one rarely encounters in today's jazz.” —Jazzdimensions
“A work of unthought-of beauty; makes you listen, because it opens spaces in the stressful daily life of the post-modern age.” —Jazzdimensions
“Candidate for CD of the year.” —Frankfurter Allgemeine
“Berger writes wide-open, prairie-big tunes. He’s a minimalist who uses a spare vocabulary of melodies and ambiguous harmony to wrap his solos in different colors.” —Peter Watrous, Musician Magazine