The Shapeshifter Lab
is located in Park Slope Brooklyn
18 Whitwell Place
(Between 1st and Carroll Str- Park Slope)
Cover $15
For reservation call (646) 820-9452


On Thursday, April 18, Karl Berger’s Orchestra of 30+ professional string, horn, and percussion soloists returns to the Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn, 18 Whitwell Place (between 1st and Carroll Street, Park Slope) . The KBIO continues to turn compositional/improvisational ideas developed in the 7:30 pm workshop/ rehearsal into a fully formed 9:00 pm performance. Conducted in Karl’s inimitable style, developed for many years at the legendary Creative Music Studio, this orchestra of extraordinary improvisers explores Karl Berger’s original themes, melodies from the world’s folk traditions and compositions written by the likes of Don Cherry or Ornette Coleman, as well as musical ideas that arise spontaneously. Some of the orchestra’s trademarks are very subtle dynamics and coloration, intense solo-duo-trio explorations, and Ingrid Sertso’s uncanny vocalization and poetry.

Recent reviews paint a vivid picture of the KBIO proceedings:

“Karl Berger has been a pioneer in large-scale jazz improvisation longer than just about anybody, which explains why his Improvisers Orchestraswings as hard, and interestingly, and often hauntingly as they do… Berger is an elegant and economical pianist, which informs how he conducts…. Berger reaches deep into his bag of riffs and sends them through the orchestra, sometimes wafting, sometimes reeling, sometimes both….”

“Like the best big bands, this crew use the entirety of their dynamic range. The ensemble weren’t often all playing at once, making those lush crescendos all the more towering and intense….…with the phantasmagorical sweep of the Gil Evans Orchestra and the rough-and-tumble bustle of the Mingus bands. The camaraderie and warmth of the repartee between the orchestra and conductor – and among the orchestra itself – was visceral”.    Lucid Culture (Blog)

Berger has developed an incredible language of his own; never losing sight of the musicians’ individuality, he plays the orchestra…This orchestra has proven itself as a wonderfully expansive vision of what a ‘big band’ could be.   John Pietaro

The suite-like performances have a warm, buoyant vibe issuing from brief folkloric-like motifs and the low-key, common-sense guidance Karl offers his players. They are mostly veteran musicians from avant rock and world music as well as jazz scenes, and can expand on simple themes paying utmost attention to dynamics and each other…..The collective’s intuited communication has attained a high point since shows began last April 2011 Howard Mandel

The compositions of Karl Berger have a clear-cut destination, with a beginning, a middle, and an ending…..Surprisingly, much of Mr. Berger’s music isn’t exactly free form but draws on lush harmonies and a well-defined relationship between foreground soloists and background…..The music is comparatively easy on the ears because Mr. Berger also relies on woodwinds, reeds and strings (as well as the soothing voice of Ingrid Sertso) rather than brass. Will Friedwald

“I love the atmosphere that Karl and Ingrid create. For me it’s an oasis in the middle of all these stressful energies that the city brings.”   Sonia Megias

This Thursday’s roster of soloists include Warren Smith, drums, Joe Hertenstein, John Pietaro, percussions, Ken Filiano, Adam Lane, bass, Jason Hwang, Frederica Krier, Sana Nagano, violin, Julianne Carney, Judith Insell, viola, Graham Haynes, cornet, Kirk Knuffke, Brian Groder, trumpet, Steve Swell, trombone, Yasuno Katsuki, euphonium, Ken Ya Kawaguchi, shakuhachi, Sylvain Leroux, flutes, Ras Moshe, flute, tenor sax , Bill Ylitalo, piccolo flute, baritone sax, Blaise Siwula, Jason Candler, Miguel Mall, clarinets, Michael Lytle, Josh Sinton, bass clarinet, Eddy Rollin, oboe, Sara Schoenbeck, bassoon, Mercedes Figueras, Avram Fefer, soproano sax, Welf Dorr, Patrick Brennan, alto sax, Yoni Kretschmer,  tenor sax, Harvey Valdes, guitar, John Ehlis, mandolin

All net proceeds support the Creative Music Studio’s Archive Project, the preservation and re-mastering of over 400 historic CMS recordings by some of the finest innovators in music, in collaboration with Columbia University (

The Shapeshifter Lab is located in Brooklyn’s Park Slope area,
18 Whitwell Place. (Between 1st and Carroll Str- Park Slope) Cover
$15. For reservation call (646) 820-9452

The Archive Project is in collaboration with Columbia University.

For information on Karl Berger’s Improvisers Orchestra, Creative Music Studio, residencies, programs, or the CMS Archive Project, contact::