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The David Berger Jazz Orchestra Sing Me A Love Song: Harry Warren’s Undiscovered Standards

November 22, 2010

  To: Listings/Critics/Features
From: Jazz Promo Services

The David Berger Jazz Orchestra – the acclaimed band featured in the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio and PBS TV – recently released their latest CD, Sing Me A Love Song: Harry Warren’s Undiscovered Standards, featuring Freda Payne (“Band Of Gold,” “Bring The Boys Home”) and Denzal Sinclaire (National Jazz Award Winner).  The CD has had great radio airplay and was singled out in USA Today’s Best Tracks of the Week and is on sale now at retailers nationwide, as well as Amazon.com <http://Amazon.com>, iTunes, CD Baby and our website, http://www.davidbergerjazz.com.  

Make sure to check out this great behind-the-scenes look at the the making of Sing Me A Love Song. The video includes interviews with the artists, producers, and creative talent to give you an inside look at the process.
The Making of Sing Me A Love Song <>

For the first time ever, these previously unrecorded and unpublished melodies by Harry Warren (1893-1981), the legendary composer of iconic hits like “Lullaby of Broadway,” “At Last” and “Jeepers Creepers,” are seeing the light of day with a thrilling big band sound. Warren – who won three Academy Awards out of eleven nominations – had more songs on the Hit Parade’s Top 10 than Gershwin, Berlin or Porter. These new songs with smart and sophisticated new lyrics written by Paul Mendenhall – appropriate to the period yet never dated – have the quality of Golden Age classics with their beautiful melodies and distinctive hooks. Each sounds like a standard we should already know and love.

The album includes a wide range of styles from the Italian waltz “Positano Afternoon,” the exciting Latin beat of “But Here We Are,” the emotional ballad “I’m Sorry” and the Count Basie-esque instrumental “Double Trouble.” “There Is No Music,” the rarely heard song with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, is another valuable contribution. In addition to the vocal tracks, the CD includes five additional instrumental versions which, as Berger says, “show their beauty and adaptability.”

Sing Me A Love Song features distinctive contributions from Freda Payne – the chart-topping singer, actress and TV personality recently seen on “American Idol” who has an accomplished career as a jazz and ballad vocalist – and the smooth sound of Denzal Sinclaire, one of Canada’s most popular jazz vocalists with his own Bravo TV special and multiple nominations for the prestigious Juno Award.

This new recording, created with the full support of the Harry Warren family, is a follow up to Berger’s acclaimed instrumental jazz Warren collection I Had The Craziest Dream. Berger’s Jazz Orchestra features Jay Brandford, Matt Hong, Dan Block, Mark Hynes, Carl Maraghi on reeds; Bob Millikan, Brian Pareschi, Irv Grossman, Brandon Lee and Scott Wenholt on trumpet; Wayne Goodman, Ryan Keberle and Jeff Bush on trombone; Isaac ben Ayala on piano; Yasushi Nakamura on bass and Jimmy Madison on drums. Berger serves as conductor, arranger and producer. Robert Schwartz and Peter Fannon serve as Executive Producers.

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DAVID BERGER, the composer, arranger and conductor is recognized internationally as a leading authority on the music of Duke Ellington and the Swing Era. Conductor and arranger for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra from its inception in 1988 through 1994, Berger has transcribed more than 700 full scores of classic recordings including nearly 500 works by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Mr. Berger maintains a close working relationship with Wynton Marsalis and continues to transcribe and arrange for and conduct the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

In 1996 Berger collaborated with choreographer Donald Byrd to create the Harlem Nutcracker, a full-length 2-hour dance piece that expands the Tchaikovsky/Ellington/Strayhorn score into an American classic. The 15-piece band assembled to play this show has stayed together as the Sultans of Swing and tours throughout the United States and Europe. Berger has written music for television (he conducted his band for the Kennedy Center’s “Mark Twain Award for Comedy” given to Billy Crystal), Broadway shows including Sophisticated Ladies; films including The Great Debaters, The Cotton Club and Brighton Beach Memoirs; dozens of singers, bands, orchestras and dance companies.

David Berger’s jazz compositions and arrangements and transcriptions are played by hundreds of bands every day all over the world. A seven-time recipient of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, Berger resides in New York City. Mr. Berger has transcribed and edited the great majority of the Essentially Ellington music, conducted band workshops, and annually serves as a judge at the Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival.

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FREDA PAYNE, best known for her worldwide Top 10 smash “Band Of Gold,” grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, which inspired her growing interest in music. She began her singing career with commercial jingles in her hometown of Detroit. Freda toured with Quincy Jones during his big band era; performing at the world famous Apollo in New York and the Regal in Chicago, among others. Soon after, she recorded the album When The Lights Go Down for Impulse Records and How Do You Say I Don’t Love You Anymore, for MGM.

She made guest appearances on top television shows including Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson. During this time, a busy Freda also added theatrical credits to her resume. She understudied Leslie Uggams for the Broadway show Hallelujah, Baby! in 1967. In 1969 her hometown friends, brothers Brian & Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier persuaded Freda to sign with their newly formed label, Invictus. Freda went on to score with two million-selling singles: “Bring The Boys Home” and “Band Of Gold.” She also recorded “Deeper and Deeper,” “Cherish (What’s Dear To You)” and “You Brought The Joy.”

Freda moved to ABC and later Capitol Records, releasing such albums as Payne & Pleasure, Out Of Payne Comes Love and Supernatural High. In the 1980s, Freda concentrated on acting and television, hosting her own talk show, but never entirely losing touch with her music.  She recorded a single in 1982 entitled “In Motion” (Sutra), and a remake of “Band of Gold” with Belinda Carlisle in 1986. In the 1990s, Freda recorded several songs for Ian Levine’s UK Motorcity label. The new millennium brought a new album of jazz, pop and R&B called Come See About Me for the Volt label and rave reviews for the show “Love & Payne”, which featured Freda and Darlene Love at Feinstein’s in New York and the Cinegrill in Hollywood. Recently, Freda played a three-month run of Blues in The Night, alongside Maurice Hines at San Francisco’s Post Street Theatre.

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DENZAL SINCLAIRE, the Toronto-born vocalist, pianist and composer, has earned his reputation as Canada’s most popular male jazz vocalist. Sinclaire is a graduate of Montreal’s McGill University where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Performance. Denzal’s vocal timbre is reminiscent of some of the great singers like Nat King Cole, Johnny Hartman and Johnny Mathis. A multiple Juno Award nominee, and recipient of the 2004 National Jazz Award for “Best Album”, he has graced the stages of numerous jazz festivals, performed with symphony orchestras, and starred in his own one hour television special for BRAVO! In 2005, Denzal was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame.

His CDs include I Found Love for EmArcy; Denzal Sinclaire for Verve; and latest release My One and Only Love from Verve, featuring trumpeter Brad Turner, bassist Reuben Rogers, drummer Gregory Hutchinson, guitarist Russell Malone and saxophonist Seamus Blake.

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