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Bob Wilber/Dick Hyman: A Perfect Match: A Tribute to Johnny Hodges & Wild Bill Davis

In this heartfelt salute to the irrepressible Hodges and Davis, Wilber and Hyman make everything swing. The keynote is “In a Mellowtone,” in which Wilber’s sensuous alto and Hyman’s throbbing B-3 are joined by Britt Woodman’s buttery bone, James Chirillo’s pulsing guitar, Phil Flanigan’s plummy bass and Doe Ascione’s rock-steady rhythms. On Hodges’ “Wings n’ Things” and “L. B. Blues,” Wilber wears the Rabbit’s mantle with subtle sophistication.

And while recalling the rich Hodges-Davis collaboration, we’re also reminded of Hyman’s superb musicianship as wafted atop the velvety waves of Mr. Hammond’s B-3.

The insouciant take on Harold Arlen’s “Paper Moon” is a particular delight with all hands contributing to the aura of magical “make believe.” The recasting of Nat “King” Cole’s “Mona Lisa” as a sassy swinger is another gem. So, too, the lovely limning of “Eternally,” the quixotic theme penned by Charlie Chaplin for Claire Bloom’s Terry in the comedian’s last American film, Limelight (1952). An obvious labor of love, this comfy warm and highly satisfying date is a testament to the power of positive swing.

Originally Published