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

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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.

Discography
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.
(PHONT7526)