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)