CD of the Month
Harry Warren is one of the most prolific contributors to the Great American Songbook, he was both a composer and lyricist and is considered to be the first major songwriter to compose exclusively for films. Harry, an Italian-American born in Brooklyn, NY as Salvatore Guaragna received the first gold record in history for his legendary song, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”. For his most recent recording, big band conductor and arranger, David Berger-a renowned authority of the “swing era” decided to contact the Harry Warren estate and obtain permission to perform previously unpublished and unrecorded songs of Mr. Warren. Berger used his experience as conductor and arranger for the Lincoln Center Orchestra and his own Sultans of Swing Big Band to put together a stunning new album, “Sing Me A Love Song” on his own Such Sweet Thunder Records label, a collection of 15 instrumental and vocal “undiscovered standards”, one of the vocal selections, “There Is No Music” features lyrics by another legend, Ira Gershwin. The vocals are performed by the veteran Freda Payne, the promising newcomer Denzal Sinclaire and one song is sung by the orchestra. The instrumental tracks are elegant music statements that have the swing of jazz past which prompted audiences to dance in ballrooms and clubs around the country.
Many musicians of this edition of the David Berger are also members of Berger’s Sultans of Swing Big Band that perform regularly at New York’s Birdland and Lincoln Center as well as touring internationally. This recording by David adds another gem to his already brilliant discography which includes his 1996 collaboration with choreographer Donald Byrd to create the Harlem Nutcracker, a 2-hour dance suite. Mr. Berger has also been a recipient of the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts fellowship seven times throughout his still fruitful career. “Sing Me a Love Song” is an album that will transport you back to the golden age of danceable swing jazz, yet keep you in the present with its contemporary charts and pristine sound. Best of all, it brings to life 15 delightful tunes of Harry Warren that had they been released and recorded in the past would assuredly be part of the songbook of standards today. Gazing into a crystal ball, it appears the old adage of “it’s never too late” will hold steady as most likely these 15 tunes will be frequently recorded and performed in the future adding to the legacy of Harry Warren and continuing David Berger’s contribution to world’s greatest art form, jazz.