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July/August 1999

Bob Wilbert et al
The Wolverines at Bern at 35

In observance of the 35th anniversary of the Wolverines Jazz Band of Bern, Switzerland, a special concert was staged in May 1996 featuring the musicians of this venerable trad band in conjunction with the largely American group Bob Wilber brought to the occasion under the name of the New Generation Jazz Band. In addition to Wilber's always commanding clarinet, soprano, and alto, the NGJB also boasted Byron Stripling's Armstrong-inspired trumpet, John Allred's lusty trombone, the highly accomplished clarinet and tenor of Wilber's Finnish disciple, Antti Sarpila, and, in the rhythm section, pianist Mark Shane, British guitarist Dave Cliff, bassist Phil Flanagan, and drummer Joe Ascione. The players of both bands, 15 in all, collaborated in various permutations and combinations on at least the 16 tunes heard in this collection, all of which are common to trad and swing bands across the world. However, as inspired as are the solo contributions of the Swiss jazzmen, those of Wilber, Sarpila, and the other members of the NGJB have to take top honors. A swinging concert all around, this should definitely be heard by admirers of Wilber in particular and hot mainstream jazz in general.

Originally published in July/August 1999
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