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Creative Music Studio: Archive Selections Volume 2

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The extensive liner notes to this three-CD set compare the Creative Music Studio to other musical collectives of the ’60s and ’70s, such as the AACM in Chicago and the Black Artists Group in St. Louis. Like those organizations, CMS was a command post in the avant-garde jazz wars. But CMS was more than a movement; it was a school and a physical community. The 45-acre campus in Woodstock, N.Y., contained residences, workshop rooms and performance spaces. It was established in 1971 by two musicians, Karl Berger and his wife, Ingrid Sertso. By the time the campus closed in 1984, most of the leading figures in free jazz had passed through Woodstock. Some touched down briefly. Some stayed for years.

More than 550 concerts were recorded there. The work of selecting, digitizing and remastering the best music from this huge archive has just begun, as a joint project of the Creative Music Foundation and the Columbia University Library. Archive Selections Volume 1 appeared in 2014. Volume 2 is now here. Like Volume 1, its three CDs are labeled “small ensembles,” “large ensembles” and “world music.” Like Volume 1, it is a wild ride, raw aural cinema verité, unfiltered life, caught on the fly.

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