Marvelous interpretations of the swing tradition
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 07/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD set collects two Chiaroscuro LPs recorded by this wonderful group in 1976 and 1977, featuring the inimitable Bob Wilber and Kenny Davern, with a handful of unissued sides thrown in for good measure. . The two reedmen play together as if they inhabit each other's mind and soul; their rapport is astonishing. Highlights from the first disc include a rousing version of NAGASAKI with both men on soprano sax; the bluesy, duel, lower register clarinet playing on CHALUMEAU BLUE; the stop-time choruses on GRENADILLA STOMP; and the clarinet-soprano counterpoint achieved on EVERYBODY LOVES MY BABY. George Duvivier gives solid support on bass and solos strongly as well, especially on WAKE UP CHILLEN'.
The second disc is even better. PRINCE OF WAILS is a terrific stomper from Chicago, with both leaders on soprano. With Wilber bringing aboard a third instrument (alto sax), Davern was not to be out-done and plays C-melody sax on a few titles. He doesn't play it as masterfully (or even as comfortably) as he does the clarinet and soprano, and I don't recall hearing him play it again on record after this date. He's brilliant, though, on clarinet on OH DADDY (so plaintive and moving) and on a showcase for him and bassist Duvivier, I'D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN. Wilber plays deep-toned alto on NETCHA'S DREAM (a Coleman Hawkins tune) and a very pretty and laid-back soprano on ARKANSAS LULLABY, accompanied by Marty Grosz on guitar. A couple of other high points include the nice key change near the end of WHEN DAY IS DONE and the 2x2 exchanges on the swinging THERE'LL BE SOME CHANGES MADE.
This is an excellent 2-CD set reissuing two of Soprano Summit's best LPs from the 70s. Definitely worth checking out.