Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

162

David Berger & the Sultans of Swing: Hindustan

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
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 not to suggest that they are old-fashioned. Far from it. Berger's compositions and arrangements, even though inspired by Ellington, Henderson, Oliver and other giants of the Big Band Era, are for the most part staunchly contemporary, as are the band's soloists, and the Sultans are as comfortable paying tribute to Thelonious Monk ("Monkey Business ) as they are Basie ("Stompin' on a Riff ), Ellington or other legendary maestros. Even so, there are more than enough remnants of the epic big-band tradition to offer the listener the best of both possible worlds.

Berger wrote five of the album's thirteen selections and arranged everything, even Joel Frahm's snappy group exam, "A Whole New You. For a jazz composer, he writes, "there is nothing more rewarding than writing for a big band—the jazz equivalent of a symphony orchestra. Every first-rate band needs at least two basic components: a powerful and perceptive lead trumpeter (Bob Millikan matches that description) and a sharp and resourceful rhythm section (as, for example, bassist Dennis Irwin, drummer Jimmy Madison and pianist Isaac ben Ayala, who's also one of the Sultans' more admirable ad-libbers). Madison is especially impressive on the title selection and Berger's Latin-based "Rising Storm, on which he uses every weapon in his arsenal (including fingers) to reinforce the rhythmic framework.

Following half a dozen instrumentals, the Sultans introduce vocalist Aria Hendricks, who is quite energetic but otherwise ordinary on her three numbers, "Too Marvelous for Words, "The Very Thought of You and "I Don't Hurt Anymore. Besides the songs already noted, the Sultans perform Thad Jones' charming "No Refill, the standards "Poor Butterfly and "Do It Again, and Berger's manic "Bumper Cars and pensive "Parting Words. Sprinkled throughout are shimmering solos by ben Ayala, saxophonists Jay Brandford, Dan Block and Todd Bashore, trumpeters Brian Pareschi and Irv Grossman, bassist Irwin and trombonists Wayne Goodman and Ryan Keberle.

No matter the terrain, be it sunny, bone-dry Hindustan or damp and wintry Malmo, this is yet another pleasurable excursion by the Sultans of Swing, one that traverses a broad expanse of musical territory without ever losing its way. There's always room for one more, so don't hesitate to hop on board and enjoy the ride.


Track Listing: Stompin

Personnel: David Berger: conductor; Jay Brandford, Todd Bashore, Dan Block, Mark Hynes, Carl Maraghi: reeds; Bob Milikan, Brian "Fletch" Pareschi, Irv Grossman, Seneca Black: trumpets; Wayne Goodman, Ryan Keberle, Jeff Bush: trombones; Isaac Ben Ayala: piano; Deniis Irwin: bass; Jimmy Madison: drums; Aria Hendricks: vocals.

Title: Hindustan | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Such Sweet Thunder


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Glow of Benares CD/LP/Track Review Glow of Benares
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Magic Circle CD/LP/Track Review Magic Circle
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 12, 2017
Read A Gathering Foretold CD/LP/Track Review A Gathering Foretold
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Swinging In The Holidays CD/LP/Track Review Swinging In The Holidays
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "For Those About To Jazz / Rock We Salute You" CD/LP/Track Review For Those About To Jazz / Rock We Salute You
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Strykin’ Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Strykin’ Ahead
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 13, 2017
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Invitation" CD/LP/Track Review Invitation
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "Jorg Schippa's Kiosk" CD/LP/Track Review Jorg Schippa's Kiosk
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "New Affirmation" CD/LP/Track Review New Affirmation
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 6, 2017

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!