Bob Wilber at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the late 1970s
|Birth name||Robert Sage Wilber|
|Born||March 15, 1928|
New York City, U.S.
|Died||August 4, 2019 91) (aged|
Chipping Campden, England
|Associated acts||Kenny Davern, Dick Hyman, Soprano Summit, World's Greatest Jazz Band, Sidney Bechet|
Robert Sage Wilber (March 15, 1928 – August 4, 2019) was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, and band leader. Although his scope covers a wide range of jazz, Wilber was a dedicated advocate of classic styles, working throughout his career to present traditional jazz pieces in a contemporary manner. He played with many distinguished jazz leaders in the 1950s and 1960s, including Bobby Hackett, Benny Goodman, Sidney Bechet, Jack Teagarden and Eddie Condon. In the late 1960s, he was an original member of the World's Greatest Jazz Band, and in the early 70s of Soprano Summit, a band which gained wide attention. In the late 1970s, he formed the Bechet Legacy Band.
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".
Robert Leo Hackett was an American jazz musician who played trumpet, cornet, and guitar with the bands of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Hackett was a featured soloist on some of the Jackie Gleason mood music albums during the 1950s.
Benjamin David Goodman was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the "King of Swing".
Wilber was active in jazz education, including working as director of the Smithsonian Jazz Repertory Ensemble. He wrote for films, including The Cotton Club . In his autobiography, Music Was Not Enough, he recounts his childhood, meeting his mentor Sidney Bechet, in 1946, and his struggles as a musician in the 1950s and 1960s. He died at the age of 91 in 2019.
The Cotton Club is a 1984 American crime-drama film centered on a Harlem jazz club of the 1930s, the Cotton Club. The film was co-written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, choreographed by Henry LeTang, and starred Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, and Lonette McKee. The supporting cast included Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Nicolas Cage, Allen Garfield, Laurence Fishburne, Gwen Verdon and Fred Gwynne.
Wilber, a "superb soprano saxophonist, a classic clarinetist, a gifted arranger and composer, and an invaluable preserver and enhancer of jazz tradition", was born in New York City on March 15, 1928. 46 He began listening to jazz from New Orleans, Kansas City, and Chicago by Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Eddie Condon, and Frank Teschemacher. He played jazz in high school and with his friends formed a "hot club", listening and jamming to records. Wilber graduated from high school in 1945. Although his parents wanted him to attend an Ivy League college, he was set on becoming a musician. He attempted to compromise with his parents by attending the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, in the fall of 1945. :47 But after one term at Eastman, he dropped out and moved back to New York City to "hang out on Fifty-second Street and in the Village". :47He became interested in jazz at the age of three when his father brought home a recording of Duke Ellington's song "Mood Indigo". In 1935, the family moved to Scarsdale, New York, and at the age of thirteen Wilber began formal clarinet study under his first teacher, Willard Briggs. :
"Mood Indigo" is a jazz song with music by Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard and lyrics by Irving Mills.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years.
Louis Daniel Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo, Satch, and Pops, was an American trumpeter, composer, vocalist and occasional actor who was one of the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s, and different eras in the history of jazz. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.
In 1945, Wilber formed the Wildcats, which included pianist Dick Wellstood and trombonist Ed Hubble. The Wildcats were the first jazz group in New York to "do what Lu Watters and Turk Murphy had been doing on the Coast – playing the music of the Hot Five and the Red Hot Peppers and the Creole Jazz Band." 47 The group performed regularly at Jimmy Ryan's club over the next two years and was recorded in 1947 by Ramp-art Records. Wilber worked with some of the best traditional jazz musicians of the era, including Muggsy Spanier, Baby Dodds, Danny Barker, Bud Freeman, Pee Wee Russell, George Wettling, Jimmy McPartland, Wild Bill Davison, and James P. Johnson.:
Richard MacQueen "Dick" Wellstood was an American jazz pianist.
Lucius Carl Watters was a trumpeter and bandleader of the Yerba Buena Jazz Band.
Melvin Edward Alton "Turk" Murphy was a trombonist and bandleader who played traditional and Dixieland jazz.
Sidney Bechet was one of the most accomplished and influential musicians of the post World War I period and was viewed by many as the best clarinetist of his time. Nevertheless, Bechet's primary instrument eventually became the soprano saxophone. In 1944, Wilber had become fascinated with Bechet's sound, and later that year, when Wilber was sixteen, he was introduced to Bechet through Mezz Mezzrow. He found out there was an opening for a pupil out at Bechet's house in Brooklyn, and so he became a Bechet pupil. 48–49 At the festival, Wilber's group shared the bill with Louis Armstrong and his Allstars. Wilber recorded for Columbia Records, Commodore, and Circle with Bechet and with his own group in the late 1940s.In the spring of 1945, he began studying both clarinet and soprano saxophone under Bechet and eventually lived with him for several months. He often sat in with Bechet at Jimmy Ryan's and they often performed duets. In 1948, Bechet sent Wilber to Nice, France, in his absence to perform at the first jazz festival. :
Sidney Bechet was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer. He was one of the first important soloists in jazz, beating trumpeter Louis Armstrong to the recording studio by several months. His erratic temperament hampered his career, and not until the late 1940s did he earn wide acclaim.
The soprano saxophone is a higher-register variety of the saxophone, a woodwind instrument, invented in the 1840s. The soprano is the third smallest member of the saxophone family, which consists of the soprillo, sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, contrabass saxophone and tubax. Soprano saxophones are the smallest saxophone in common use.
Milton Mesirow, better known as Mezz Mezzrow, was an American jazz clarinetist and saxophonist from Chicago, Illinois. He is well known for organizing and financing historic recording sessions with Tommy Ladnier and Sidney Bechet. He also recorded a number of times with Bechet and briefly acted as manager for Louis Armstrong. Mezzrow is equally well remembered as a colorful character, as portrayed in his autobiography, Really the Blues, co-written with Bernard Wolfe and published in 1946.
In 1948, Wilber formed a trio to play at intermissions at the Savoy Café in Boston. The trio featured traditional New Orleans-style jazz (dixieland). Eventually, Wilber expanded the band to a sextet and was booked as the main attraction: Bob Wilber and the Dixieland Band. This group featured Wilber on clarinet and soprano sax, Henry Goodwin on trumpet, Jimmy Archey on trombone, Dick Wellstood on piano, Johnny Fields on bass, and Tommy Benford on drums.Wilber gained a strong following in Boston and the Savoy gig lasted through the better part of 1949. The Savoy also led to other opportunities to play in the New York City area through 1950, most notably at Jimmy Ryan's and the Stuyvesant Hotel.
Dixieland, sometimes referred to as hot jazz or traditional jazz, is a style of jazz based on the music that developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century.
Jimmy Archey was an American jazz trombonist born in Norfolk, Virginia, perhaps most noteworthy for his work in several prominent jazz orchestras and big bands of his time. He performed and recorded with the James P. Johnson orchestra, King Oliver, Fats Waller and the Luis Russell orchestra, among others.
Thomas Benford was an American jazz drummer.
With Soprano Summit
With Sidney Bechet
With Ruby Braff
With Benny Goodman
With Bobby Hackett
With Dick Hyman
With Ralph Sutton
With The World's Greatest Jazzband of Yank Lawson & Bob Haggart
Albert Edwin Condon was an American jazz banjoist, guitarist, and bandleader. A leading figure in Chicago jazz, he also played piano and sang.
Jazzology Records is an American jazz record company and label. It is part of the Jazzology group of labels owned and operated by the George H. Buck Jr. Jazz Foundation.
Howard Vincent Alden is an American jazz guitarist born in Newport Beach, California. Alden has recorded many albums for Concord Records, including four with seven-string guitar innovator George Van Eps.
Kenny Davern, born John Kenneth Davern, was an American jazz clarinetist.
Evan Christopher is an American clarinetist and composer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Recognized mainly for a personal brand of "contemporary early-jazz", he strives to extend the legacy of the clarinet style created by early New Orleans clarinetists such as Lorenzo Tio Jr., Sidney Bechet, Omer Simeon, Barney Bigard, and Johnny Dodds.
Richard Hyman is an American jazz pianist and composer. Over a 60-year career, he has functioned as a pianist, organist, arranger, music director, electronic musician, and, increasingly, as a composer. He was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters fellow in 2017.
Ken Peplowski is a jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist born in Cleveland, Ohio, known primarily for playing swing music. For over a decade, Peplowski recorded for Concord Records.
Ralph Earl Sutton was an American jazz pianist born in Hamburg, Missouri. He was a stride pianist in the tradition of James P. Johnson and Fats Waller.
Robert Marshall Rosengarden was a jazz drummer and bandleader. A native of Elgin, Illinois, he played on many recordings and in television orchestras and talk show bands.
Martin Oliver Grosz is an American jazz guitarist, banjoist, vocalist, and composer born in Berlin, Germany. He performed with Bob Wilber and wrote arrangements for him. He has also worked with Kenny Davern, Dick Sudhalter, and Keith Ingham.
Tony Parenti was an American jazz clarinettist and saxophonist born in New Orleans, perhaps best known for his decades of work in New York City.
Arbors Records is a record company and independent record label in Clearwater, Florida. It was founded by Mat and Rachel Domber in 1989 and was initially devoted to the recordings of their friend, Rick Fay.
Michael Moore is an American jazz bassist.
James Louis Chirillo is an American jazz guitarist, banjoist, composer, arranger, and band leader.
Joe Licari is an American jazz clarinetist.
Chiaroscuro Records is a jazz record company and label founded by Hank O'Neal in 1970. The label's name comes from the art term for the use of light and dark in a painting. O'Neal got the name from his friend and mentor Eddie Condon, a jazz musician who played in what were called Chiaroscuro Concerts in the 1930s. O'Neal also got the name from a store that sold only black and white dresses.
The George H. Buck Jr. Jazz Foundation was created by George Buck in the 1980s to maintain the catalog of his jazz record labels. The catalog includes dixieland jazz, swing, blues, rhythm and blues, gospel, and cabaret music.
Charles "Chuck" Riggs is an American jazz drummer.
Jon-Erik Kellso is an American jazz trumpeter and session musician.
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