JJ 10/80: Bob Wilber And The American All Stars Featuring Lars Erstrand: In The Mood For Swing

Forty years ago, Eddie Cook was exhilarated by Wilber's outing with Lars Erstrand, Hank Jones, Al Klink and others. First published in Jazz Journal October 1980


Bob Wilber has gathered as reliable a bunch of stalwart jazzmen you would hope to find in order to record his special arrangements of these well known standards and a very successful session it was. Talk Of The Town features Frank Wess and Jimmy Maxwell; Dinah the distinc­tive and driving tenor of Al Klink, whilst Memories Of You and Yours And Mine showcase the leader’s tuneful soprano sax. The ensembles are very crisp throughout with the 4-sax section being particularly enjoy­able to me, whilst of course Bob’s clarinet excels as always.

Bei Mir Bist Du Schon is taken at a gentle rocking tempo rather than at the more usual frantic pace and Hank Jones is suddenly revealed on this track with a fine solo. His piano is again well in evidence on Chinatown My Chinatown.

The vibraphone of Lars Erstrand hovers over all these tunes; bubbling up here and there now forceful, now gentle – as in his lead I’m Confessin’ now striding as on Ring Dem Bells but never over-dominating. Jimmy Maxwell gives a fine performance and both Michael Moore and Bucky Pizzarelli also solo, the former most satisfyingly on Confessin’ and the latter on China­town.

Altogether a most exhilarating LP and one which has been among my favourites since it was first on the turntable.

I’m In The Mood For Swing; It’s The Talk Of The Town; Dinah; I’m Confessing When Lights Are Low (19.12) – Ring Dem Bells; Memories Of You; Bei Mir Bist Du Schon; Yours And Mine*; Chinatown My Chinatown* (19.45)
Lars Erstrand (vibes) with: Jimmy Maxwell (t); Bob Wilber (as, ss, cl); Norris Turney (as); Al Klink, Frank Wess (ts); Hank Jones (p); Bucky Pizzarelli (g); Michael Moore (b); Connie Kay (d). *Maxwell, Wilber, Klink and Erstrand plus the rhythm section. 30-31/5/79.