Arranger/recomposer David Berger's music is likely to prompt mixed reactions for its mixing of traditional values with creative originality, somewhat akin to Ted Turner's colorizing of classic black and white films. Colorizing the Classics is a big-band follow-up to I Had the Craziest Dream (Such Sweet Thunder, 2008), an octet outing also championing the works of Harry Warren, an important but under-recognized composer of movie musicals. Digging through the Warren family archives, Berger discovered a trove of forgotten melodies, most untitled, many half-finished, and fleshed out these themes with original orchestrations and newly composed lyrics by Paul ...read more
David Berger Octet I Had the Craziest Dream Such Sweet Thunder 2008
Composer / arranger / scholar / historian / educator David Berger, who uses groups of various sizes to adorn his musical framework, has chosen an octet to record I Had the Craziest Dream, subtitled The Music of Harry Warren. If you're thinking Harry who?," think instead Chattanooga Choo-Choo," Lulu's Back in Town," There Will Never Be Another You," At Last," I've Got a Gal in Kalmazoo," The More I See You," Lullaby of Broadway," This Heart of Mine," You're My ...read more
David Berger's credentials are wide-ranging and impeccable: transcribing 500 Ellington recordings, leading the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, teaching at the Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard. I Had the Craziest Dream is precise, hot and lively, honoring Harry Warren, a deserving 20th-century popular composer less well known than Berlin, Gershwin, or Porter. In addition to the 12 songs on this CD, Warren created You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me," There Will Never Be Another You" and over two dozen melodies that continue to offer fine material for jazz improvisation. Berger's flexible octet seems wholly original ...read more
David Berger & The Sultans of Swing at BirdlandBirdlandNew York, NYSeptember 25, 2007 David Berger and his Sultans of Swing have a regular Tuesday gig at Birdland and recently have included vocalist Champian Fulton for some tunes in the set. Berger talked a bit about the music, and made the point that this band is not trying to recreate an historic style, but rather that this is the music he and the band members love--all too clearly evidenced by the body language and playing of every member of the band.read more
It is that time of year again, and David Berger's adaptation and extension of Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn's Harlem Nutcracker suite is one swinging way to enjoy music of this season. This release is a reissue of the original. The short story is that Berger, an expert on Ellington and a top notch transcriber, was asked to write ninety more minutes of music for a new show put together by the Donald Byrd Dance Foundation. The show toured for four seasons, from 1996-99, and was a huge hit. So here we have music by a ...read more
Recording a band in the studio during the peak of a tour can yield a session that reflects the synergy gained from repeated nights on the road. Hindustan is just such an occasion, capturing the breadth of this large, swinging aggregation on a varied program of standards and new music written especially for these players. The original opener, Stompin' on a Riff, starts innocently enough as pianist Isaac Ben Ayala, bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Jimmy Madison state the infectious riff. The band's authority soon becomes self-evident as the horns punch out and Brian Fletch Pareschi solos ...read more
David Berger not only leads a terrific band, he also has a wicked sense of humor. Hindustan, the fourth album by his intrepid Sultans of Swing, comes complete with a cover photo of camels being led by turbaned Bedouins across blazing desert sands as the sun sinks slowly in the west. So where was it recorded? In sweltering Malmo, Sweden, of course, during a Scandinavian tour last autumn.
Berger and the Sultans are throwbacks to a heady time when thousands of big bands criss-crossed the country, braving innumerable one-night stands and swinging as if there were no tomorrow. Which is ...read more
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