258

David Berger Jazz Orchestra: Colorizing the Classics: David Berger's Tribute to Harry Warren

Tom Greenland By

Sign in to view read count
David Berger Jazz Orchestra: Colorizing the Classics: David Berger's Tribute to Harry Warren 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 Mendenhall. Berger's craftsmanship, honed through transcriptions and rearrangements of the Ellington/Strayhorn songbook for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, is impeccable and Mendenhall's words faithfully recapture the historical mise-en-scene. The charts are executed with aplomb, in part because they have been thoroughly test-driven during the orchestra's old Tuesday night slot at Birdland and vocalists Denzal Sinclaire and Freda Payne, recalling Nat "King" Cole and Ella Fitzgerald, respectively, give the performances a retro-yet-novel character.

The soloing is largely swing-infused, with nods to the moderns, as on "I'm Sorry," whose melody sounds more than a little like Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" yet includes a Charlie Parker quote in Jay Brandford's alto sax solo, or "Hard To Get," where the bebop intro leads to a theme that could have been a Swing Era hit, complemented by Dan Block's sweet 'n' low clarinet, a velvety saxophone soli and hot soloing in the brass. The section-to-section interplay, often led by the reeds, is excellent throughout, especially on the closing track, an instrumental version of "Hard to Get" that blends all of the elements into a polychromatic palette of compelling hues, a strong argument that "colorizing" the classics has it merits.


Track Listing: Me and You; I Wonder Who; With Your Hand in Mine (instrumental); Positano Afternoon; Double Trouble (instrumental); Sing Me a Love Song; I'm Sorry (instrumental); Hard to Get (vocal); There Is No Music (vocal); But Here We Are (vocal); With Your Hand in Mine (vocal); I'm Sorry (vocal); But Here We Are (instrumental); Double Trouble (vocal); Hard To Get (instrumental).

Personnel: David Berger: arranger/conductor; Jay Brandford: reeds; Matt Hong: reeds; Dan Block: reeds; Mark Hynes: reeds; Carl Maraghi: reeds; Bob Millikan: trumpet; Brian Pareschi: trumpet; Irv Grossman: trumpet; Brandon Lee: trumpet; Scott Wenholt: trumpet; Wayne Goodman: trombone; Ryan Keberle: trombone; Jeff Bush: trombone; Isaac ben Ayala: piano; Yasushi Nakamura: bass; Jimmy Madison: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Such Sweet Thunder | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Les Rhincéros III" CD/LP/Track Review Les Rhincéros III
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Back Home" CD/LP/Track Review Back Home
by Mark F. Turner
Published: May 6, 2016
Read "Still Happy" CD/LP/Track Review Still Happy
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 11, 2016
Read "Ida Y Vuelta" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Y Vuelta
by James Nadal
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Argonautica" CD/LP/Track Review Argonautica
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Guitarist, Alone" CD/LP/Track Review Guitarist, Alone
by John Eyles
Published: August 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!