David Berger celebrates the reissue of The Harlem Nutcracker at Birdland!


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The Harlem Nutcracker
(Such Sweet Thunder, www.sultansofswing.com)

No, nothing now can bring us down,
No fear our faith destroy;
Our hearts leap up, our souls say “yes!"
Sing out in this season of joy!
(From “Sing Out!" track 6 of The Harlem Nutcracker)

David Berger and The Sultans of Swing
Tuesday Night Residency at Birdland
November 21, 2006 and every Tuesday thereafter
Until further notice

Playing music from Hindustan, The Harlem Nutcracker, Ellington and more...

Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street, betw 8th & 9th avenues. Call 212 581 3080 for reservations and information. Tickets are $25, show times are 9:00 & 11:00 PM

“Now it is possible for those born after the swing era to be in the actual presence of a 15-piece band, the Sultans of Swing, that not only keeps the joy of that heritage alive but has also absorbed much of the spirit and language of the jazz that came after"--Nat Hentoff, Wall Street Journal

David Berger, internationally acclaimed jazz composer, arranger and conductor, is proud to announce the reissue of The Harlem Nutcracker (in stores on November 21 and also available at www.sultansofswing.com). This holiday album features music by David Berger, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, based on themes by Tchaikovsky. Produced by the Donald Byrd Dance Foundation, the legendary artist himself choreographed the live presentation of this music. (Byrd was nominated for a Tony for his choreography for The Color Purple this past year.) In composing roughly 90 minutes of new music that would have to move seamlessly in and out of what Ellington and Strayhorn wrote, Berger and Byrd took the advice of Ellington himself who stressed the importance of transforming the Russian rituals into corresponding American rituals, knowing that then the music would then be authentic. As Berger states in the album's liner notes (by Stanley Crouch), with “The Harlem Nutcracker," “we truly have an American story and an American Christmas."

“The Harlem Nutcracker" toured for four Christmas/holiday seasons, from 1996-99, playing to packed houses in major US cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Audiences ranged from three yrs old to 90 (maybe more). People from all walks of life, of various races, ancestry, ethnicity and religious backgrounds bought tickets and filled the theaters with thunderous, appreciative applause. Berger commented on the broad appeal of “The Harlem Nutcracker" by saying that, “this is a show for everyone. Although the music is jazz, the audiences were not jazz audiences, but as soon as the band hit the third measure of the overture, the audience was tapping their toes and clapping on two and four."

The initial season of “The Harlem Nutcracker" was flooded with press coverage, including CBS Sunday Morning, ABC and NBC. Offering an indisputable stamp of approval from the jazz world is the fact that three of The Harlem Nutcracker's biggest fans were none other than Quincy Jones, Max Roach and Clark Terry (who, due to his blindness, couldn't even see the stage but just loved listening from the audience.)

On July 4, 2006, critically acclaimed bandleader, arranger and conductor David Berger and his 16 piece big band The Sultans of Swing kicked off a new Tuesday night residency at one of NYC's most prestigious venues, Birdland. The residency resumes on Tuesday, November 21 and carries on indefinitely. At Birdland Berger leads his crack ensemble through original music from his four CD releases. Come celebrate and enjoy America's music played by one of the best big bands in the business!

This story appears courtesy of Jason Byrne, Red Cat Publicity.
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