Find other projects
This project was successfully funded on January 31, 2014

Creative Music Studio Archive Restoration Project

by Creative Music Foundation


Download Video: Closed Format: MP4 Open Format: OGG / WebM



Creative Music Foundation thanks all the supporters who helped us raise the minimum required by HatchFund. The money raised will cover the restoration and digitization of 15 of the 80 tapes left un-digitized in the CMS Archive. But there are still 65 tapes left to restore and preserve. Please help us reach the maximum goal of $11,000 so we can digitize 25 more tapes and make the final push toward having the entire CMS Archive restored, preserved and digitized for posterity. And, don't forget the great perks we're offering in return for your generosity!  



The Creative Music Studio Archive Restoration Project  is preserving, restoring,  digitizing, re-mastering and distributing music from over 400 historic concerts that took place at the historic Creative Music Studio between 1973 and 1984.  Artists include: Jimmy Giuffre, Ed Blackwell, Don Cherry, Oliver Lake, Usula Oppens, Carla Bley, Colin Walcott and Cecil Taylor, among hundreds of others. Recognizing its musical and historical significance, Columbia University Library will house the CMS Archive for posterity. We need $4,000 to restore 15 of the remaining 80 tapes. The Creative Music Foundation, which operates the Creative Music Studio and its educational programs, is a 40 year-old nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation founded by Ornette Coleman, Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso. 

Why we’re doing it

The Creative Music Studio Archive project has three goals: 1) to restore, preserve and digitize the tapes for posterity; 2) to return the remastered versions to the musicians who made them, free of charge; and 3) to share the music with fans around the world by producing a series of 3-CD box sets. Over 325 tapes have already been digitized and preserved, leaving 80 left for archival preservation, digitization and re-mastering. 

Why Now? 

The tapes are old and brittle; some are no longer playable. Time is our enemy; over time, the tapes deteriorate. The sooner we can digitize and re-master them, then the risk of losing this historically and musically important archive will be minimized. 

What you get

$25 Limited edition 'surprise' CD by CMS guiding artists

$50 First edition of 3-CD box set 

$100 Autographed first edition of 3-CD box set

$250 All of the above plus your name on the packaging as a member of the ‘producer’s circle’ 

$500 All of the above plus a catalog of the complete CMS Archive from which you can choose one single, complete recording

The Budget: 

It takes roughly four and a half hours to lovingly restore, re-master and digitize each tape. Since CMS does this in-house, costs are low: $270 per tape. Currently there are 80 tapes left in the CMS Archive to preserve.  We are seeking $4,000 from HatchFund to cover the costs of preserving 15 of these 80 remaining tapes and will seek the remainder of the funds through other sources such as Columbia University, New York State grants, and the generosity of individual donors.  If Hatchfund over-funds the project, the money will be used to preserve as many of the 80 remaining tapes as possible.  

More About the CMS Archive Project: 

The CMS Archive Project is historically important, resulting in an international treasury of jazz, world music, and new music from the 1970’s and 1980’s. The Creative Music Studio had a magnetic force that drew musical innovators from all over the world, offering the unique opportunity to work with ensembles large and small away from the restrictive climate of the professional music world. 

With its 45-acre campus as the hub of the Creative Music Studio, hundreds of live concerts were recorded, many heralded as landmark performances. Many of these concerts featured combinations of musicians from jazz, classical and world music traditions that never played together before or after. Ben Ratliff of The New York Times wrote that CMS and its archive is “.. a definitive history of jazz in the 1970s – a book yet to be written – ought to give it (CMS) central importance.” 

The Creative Music Foundation has partnered with Columbia University’s Library to preserve the CMS Archive for posterity. CMS is giving Columbia the full archive of recorded tapes, along with memorabilia and photographs from CMS. CMS co-founder Karl Berger and audio engineer (and former CMS participant) Ted Orr are going through each tape, lovingly digitizing them and re-mastering them, a time consuming process that’s as much a labor of love as it is technical. The digitized, re-mastered recordings will be available at the Columbia University Library for scholars or others who want to enjoy and learn from them. 

As part of its nonprofit mission, CMF is offering Guiding Artists who made these rare recordings a digitized version for their unrestricted use free-of-charge.  At the discretion of the Guiding Artists, selections of the re-mastered, digitized recordings will be made available in CD compilations to help raise money for the Creative Music Foundation. CMF is partnering with American Composers Forum and its Innova recording label to release these compilations. Each volume will feature three compact discs full of rare recordings divided into small ensemble, orchestral and world music performances. Two volumes will be released annually, beginning in winter 2013. 

Since history is a powerful teacher, part of the CMS Archive Project also includes obtaining rich oral histories from the musicians and participants who were at CMS. The CMS Oral History Project ( is a natural complement to the CMS Archive Project. The CMS Oral History Project is also a partnership with Columbia University and its Jazz and Oral History Departments, as well as with WKCR-FM, Columbia’s radio station. The goal is for these oral histories to be published on as well as to be made available through Columbia’s resources. Eventually, select oral history interviews will be broadcast on WKCR. The end result will be vibrant and vital histories of the evolution of jazz, world music and new music. 

A BIG Thank You:

On behalf of the Creative Music Foundation, its founders, board of directors and the hundreds of Guiding Artists whose recorded music is alive in the CMS Archive, we thank you for your generous support.

Match Funds are not currently available.

Previous donations matched by:

    • January 22, 2014 jeffgolick Community Member

      For those of us who contributed to the CMS Kickstarter campaign last summer, can you clarify how this is different/also worth giving to? Thanks.

      • January 30, 2014 Creative Music Foundation Artist

        Hi Jeff, This is fundraising to continue the preservation process. We still have about 50 tapes left to do. And, people donating to this project will get the second issue of the CMS Archive Selection Series. The first edition of that is currently in production and we hope to have copies in the next 8 weeks.

        • January 31, 2014 jeffgolick Community Member

          Ok, thanks for getting back!

          • January 31, 2014 jeffgolick Community Member

            ...though it appears as though the project here is closed to further donations? :(