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Hindustan

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Hindustan album cover
01
Stompin’ On A Riff
4:11
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02
No Refill
5:21
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03
Hindustan
7:57
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04
Monkey Business
5:03
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05
Bumper Cars
3:56
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06
Poor Butterfly
4:34
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07
Too Marvelous For Words
2:27
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08
The Very Thought Of You
3:47
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09
I Don’t Hurt Anymore
2:55
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10
Do It Again
5:37
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11
The Rising Storm
6:39
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12
A Whole New You
4:58
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13
Parting Words
4:02
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Album Information

Total Tracks: 13   Total Length: 61:27

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They Say All Music Guide

The end of World War II and the swing era in 1945 was not the death of big-band jazz, but it did mark the beginning of a time in which big bands would be the exception instead of the rule in the jazz world. Of course, becoming a rarity isn’t the same as becoming extinct — and in the early 2000s, jazz-oriented big bands can still be found if one knew where to look. Recorded in 2005, Hindustan finds David Berger leading a big band 60 years after the swing era ended. Berger, who calls his orchestra the Sultans of Swing, doesn’t play any instruments on this 61-minute CD — his role is strictly that of a bandleader/arranger/composer — and the word “swing” is applicable as a verb more than as a style of jazz. In other words, Berger & the Sultans do swing — no doubt about that — but they aren’t playing flat-out swing as it existed in the ’30s and early ’40s. Hindustan is essentially big-band bop; Duke Ellington is a major influence, but so are Thad Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Lewis, and others who have done their part to make bop relevant to the big-band tradition. One of the album’s highlights, in fact, is an arrangement of Jones’ “No Refill.” Ellington, without question, was a strong influence on many of bop’s big-band arrangers; so it is no surprise that there is both an Ellingtonian element and a bop element on several Berger originals, as well as on tasteful arrangements of the standards “Too Marvelous for Words” and “The Very Thought of You” (both of which feature singer Aria Hendricks, although Hindustan is instrumental album more often than not). This derivative effort isn’t the least bit groundbreaking, but it’s an enjoyable demonstration of the fact that noteworthy big bands continued to exist 60 years after the swing era came to a close. – Alex Henderson

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