Ed Berger

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Growing up in Philadelphia, Ed Berger was a child of the bop era. Influenced as a youngster by Benny Goodman, Berger started talking lessons from one of John Coltrane's teachers. Shortly thereafter, like…
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Growing up in Philadelphia, Ed Berger was a child of the bop era. Influenced as a youngster by Benny Goodman, Berger started talking lessons from one of John Coltrane's teachers. Shortly thereafter, like many others, Berger's musical life was significantly and irrevocably altered after hearing Charlie Parker in the 1940s. He switched to alto saxophone and never looked back. Touring the Midwest as part of a Four Freshmen-like group, the Continentals, Berger stayed on in Minneapolis, his home base since the '60s. But the Philly sound has never left him. Coming from his saxophone you hear not only Parker, but those Philadelphia-born or -based saxophone colossuses -- Dexter Gordon, Richie Kamuca, Jimmy Heath, John Coltrane, and Sonny Stitt. It is Stitt's sound which Berger comes the closest to. His playing is classic bop; intense and sometimes acerbic but always driving and urgent. In addition to performing, Berger launched two jazz clubs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The best known, and still open, is the Artists Quarters. That venue has played host to many greats like Al Cohn, Pepper Adams, Dannie Richmond, and Kenny Barron. Berger has shared the stage with the likes of Mark Murphy, Anita O'Day, and Herb Ellis. He continued to be an active musician, playing with his Jazz All Stars and releasing an album in 1999 on the Bridge Boy label called I'm Glad There Is You. Berger is like many regional jazz musicians in the U.S. He is a very talented player rarely straying from his part of the country, either because of lack of opportunity or desire, the former often eventually leading to the latter.