JJ 02/81: Bob Wilber – Dizzyfingers

Forty years ago, Eddie Cook thought the reedman one of the finest all-round jazz musicians in the world. First published in Jazz Journal February 1981


Here is another superb album from Bob Wilber. The young rhythm section is first class and their play­ing reveals considerable enthusiasm – Bob having the ability to make his companions rise to the occa­sion when necessity demands. It is difficult to pick a favourite track – they are all so good, but Poor But­terfly is one of my favourite numbers – as is Rose Room.

Lars Erstrand’s vibes playing is improving all the time, he has lovely improvisational ideas and achieves what is to me a fine hard ’round’ sound.

Pug Horton sings on two tracks. I find her more satisfying as a visual performer because her per­sonality needs the stimulation of an enthusiastic live audience, but nevertheless the tracks are very enjoyable.

Having overcome the journalistic clichés associated with his being a pupil of Sidney Bechet, I suppose Bob will now have to live with a comparison with his other in­spiration – Benny Goodman, especially after his recorded dedica­tion to the great clarinettist, but in truth Bob has developed his own outstandingly original style on clarinet, soprano and alto saxes and is, to my mind, without doubt one of the finest all-round jazz musicians in the world today.

Buy this record if you like ex­citing, timeless jazz – you won’t be disappointed.

Dizzy Fingers; Poor Butterfly; Air­mail Special; Foolin’ Myself*; Soft Winds; Jumpin’ At The Woodside (21.53) – Clarinade; Rose Room; Royal Garden Blues; What A Little Moonlight Can Do*; Memories Of You; The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise (23.06)
Bob Wilber (cl/ss); Lars Erstrand (vb); Mark Shans (p); Chris Flory (g); Phil Flanigan (b); Chuck Riggs (d); Pug Horton* (v). N.Y.C., 24/8/80.
(BW 101 Bodeswell Records)