Tuba player Mike Walbridge is the epitome of both a regional musician and a period musician. The latter is suggested by his choice of instrument; the most percussive of horns, the tuba has not been in the forefront of music since the onset of electrical recording in 1925. The mid-’20s is a central point in time for Walbridge, whose chosen style is the hot jazz of that day. It’s a choice that has helped keep him more of a working musician than a recording one, which in turn has helped keep him in Chicago. He has been abetted in these efforts by clarinet and alto sax player Kim Cusack. In 1966-67, when Walbridge was approaching 30 and Cusack 20, the pair teamed with banjo player Eddie Lynch and drummer Glen Koch for two sessions that resulted in the LP Hip Flasks & Hotcha! (Blackbird). (Pianist Johnny Cooper joined them for the 1967 session.) Delmark eventually acquired Blackbird and commissioned a new session to bring it up to CD length.
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