Berardi, Sangeeta Michael

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Berardi, Sangeeta Michael

Berardi, Sangeeta Michael, avant-garde guitarist; b. Waterbury, Conn., Sept. 2, 1939. He began playing guitar at age 10, and started gigging at about 14, but his musical progress was delayed when he was arrested for armed robbery at 18. While in prison, he resumed the guitar and on his release in 1960 began gigging at Providence Coll. and elsewhere while attending the Univ. of Conn. (B.A., English). In 1963, he moved to Chicago where he worked with Baby Face Willette and Joe Diorio, with whom he studied informally. In 1964, he was back in Conn., where he studied with Bertram Turetzky. He led bands in N.Y. with Perry Robinson, Dewey Johnson, and others (1965–8), while studying with Ronnie Ball. He led groups in Woodstock, New Paltz and N.Y., and co-led bands with Sonny Simmons and with Sunny Murray (1968–9). In the spring to fall of 1968, he was the music director at Group 212, a multimedia arts cooperative near Woodstock, bringing Archie Shepp, Murray, and many others and paving the way for the Creative Music Studio. He appeared at N.Y. loft festivals (1970–2) with his own groups and co-led one with Marzette Watts at the East Village Inn, and played in the groups of David Izenson, Roswell Rudd, and Alice Coltrane. In 1972, he began a weekly concert and workshop series on the SUNY New Paltz campus; he later moved to San Francisco where he led bands and performed with Shepp and Pharoah Sanders. From 1975, he became heavily involved with yoga and the music of India. In 1980, he moved back to N.Y. and opened up his 7th Avenue loft as a workshop/performance space featuring Rashied Ali, Sanders, Dave Schnitter, Joe Lovano, and many others until the building closed in 1984. In 1985, he appeared in San Francisco with Shepp. From 1985–8, he concentrated on writing prose and poems and drawing. From 1988–93, Berardi was in El Cerrito, Calif., making occasional appearances. Back on the East Coast, a severe back injury curtailed his playing during 1994–5, but in 1996 he began performing again.


R. Ali: The Godz (1966); Rock and Other Four Letter Words (1968); Soundtrack for “Brand X” (1968); Sangeeta: Divine Song (1979).

—Lewis Porter