Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Berger, Rudi (Khalid)

Berger, Rudi (Khalid), jazz violinist-songwriter; b. Vienna, Austria, Europe, 19 November 1954. He grew up in Vienna with his grandfather Rudolf Berger (1901-1987) who was an Austrian folklore singer (jodel etc.). His mother, Veronika Berger (born 1932 in austria) and his father, Khalid Rashid Rushdi Amin (born in Baghdad 1926, moved to Stockholm, Sweden in 1954) were not married. He is of Viennese and Gypsy ancestry. Rudi took classical violin lessons from age six to fifteen and nineteen to twenty-four with Professor Karl Barilly and Professor Guenther Schich at the Conservatory of Music in Vienna. As a jazz musician, Rudi is self-taught as well in piano and guitar. He wrote his first contemporary songs at ten years of age.

From 1977-87 in Vienna, he formed his first bands (Rudi Berger's Good News, Rudi Berger Quartet, Rudi Berger Group and Rudi Berger Project) and became a co-found-member of the Vienna Art Orchestra in 1977. He was Voted Jazz Violinist Of The Year in 1985 and 1986 by the European Jazz Magazine "Jazz Live."
From 1977-1982, Rudi performed with his Viennese jazz-rock Underground band, Rudi Berger's Good News, mainly in Vienna and Austria. In 1980, he was invited for the first time to be a bandleader internationally at "Jazz in Athens" in Greece. Between 1982 and 1986, he toured and performed with the Viennese Rudi Berger Quartet, Rudi Berger Group and Rudi Berger Project in Austria and Germany.

In 1987, Rudi moved to New York, where he lived until 1998. There, he started out as a street musician. After six months, he was invited with his first New York Quartet (Joe Calderazzo - piano, Mike Formanek - bass, Adam  Nussbaum - drums) to play a two hour live special on the New York Jazz radio  station WKCR.  In his New York time he has worked with Astor Piazzolla, Defunkt, Victor  Bailey and Toninho Horta among others.

From 1989-1990 Rudi lived one year in Harlem and got some invitations to perform as a guest soloist gospel music with some church bands in Brooklyn and Harlem. In New York Rudi performed in many jazz clubs including the Village Gate, Village Vanguard, The Bottom Line, Indigo Blues and The Knitting Factory. In 1989, he played the American Music Festival in Charleston and Philadelphia.   

From 1990 until today, Rudi has made six European tours with his bands of New York. In 1993 Brazilian guitar and composer Toninho Horta invited Rudi to performed in Brazil for the first time. In the following years Rudi has performed in Toninho Horta's formations and as a duo in many occasions all over Brazil. Many performances and invitations followed as a bandleader and guest soloist in the bands of Iuri Popoff, Luiz Avellar,Nelson Ayres and singer Selma Reis.

Since 1998 Rudi Berger lives in Brazil. In 1998-99 he was invited for three semesters by the University of Minas Gerais - Belo Horizonte as a guest-teacher for jazz  violine, improvisation and ensemble.
Rudi Berger also performed and recorded with Joseph Bowie's Defunkt, Paolo Braga, Gil Goldstein, Conrad Herwig, Ron McClure, Minas Gerais Big Band, Hermeto Pascoal, James Blood Ulmer, Nana Vasconcelos, and  others.

He has appeared in several movie scores (including "Dangerous Games," music and musical supervision by Astor Piazzola) and music for theatre in Austria, United States and Brazil.

First Step (1985); Innocent Invader (1997); Postcard From Brazil (2001)

As sideperson:
Al Cook: Slide Guitar Foolin' (1972), The Lonliest Man in Town (1974); Vienna Art Orchestra: Jessas Na (1977), Tango from Obango (1980), Chapter Two (1990); Toninho Horta: Moonstone (1989), Foot On The Road (1994); Peter Madsen: Snuggling Snakes (1992); James Blood Ulmer and The Music Revalation Ensemble: After Dark (1995); Michael Gerber: This Is Michael Gerber (1996); Ana Christina: Otros Esquinhas (1996); Art Frank: Waltz for Sharon Stone (1997); Roberto Correa: No Sertao (1998); Pedra Azul: Samba Cancao (1998); Antonio Guimaraes: Aprendiz (1999); Anthonio: Anthonio (2000); Babaya: De Vida e Cancoes (2000); Arthur Maia: Planeta Musica (2000)

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