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Yearnings by Bobby Gordon and Bob Wilber

While both Bobby Gordon and Bob Wilber have appeared on numerous Arbors Jazz recordings, this is probably the first time they have recorded together. It’s a pleasure to hear these like-minded players exchange ideas in the studio.

Bobby Gordon has been active for several decades and I fondly remember the first time I heard him on the Decca label. The tune was Bobby’s Blues and, although I no longer have that vinyl record, the melody still lingers in my aging mind. Gordon is a veteran of the bands of Eddie Condon, Bobby Hackett, Wild Bill Davison and Muggsy Spanier. Those of you are younger, will probably associate Bobby Gordon with Leon Redbone’s studio group or Jim Cullum’s fine jazz band heard on National Public Radio’s program Riverwalk, Live From The Landing. That show is available in streaming audio at the Riverwalk web site. Don’t miss it!

A student of the late clarinetist, Joe Marsala, Bobby Gordon maintained a close relationship with his mentor. Gordon made a recording with Marsala’s wife, the jazz harpist Adele Girard. Although I haven’t heard the Arbors CD, Adele Girard’s musicianship is legendary and I’ve heard her early records with the Marsala band. The harpist loved the CD she recorded with Bobby Gordon and it played as she lay dying in 1993.

Bob Wilber was a student of Sidney Bechet and, like his mentor, is proficient on clarinet and soprano sax. He also plays tenor and alto. A prolific recording artist, Wilber has appeared with Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Sidney Bechet, Eddie Condon and the Soprano Summit with Kenny Davern. I saw Bob Wilber with The World’s Greatest Jazz Band in the early 70’s. In spite of the availability of such stars as Bud Freeman, Yank Lawson, Ralph Sutton, Billy Butterfield and Bennie Morton, the jazz press flocked to the forward - thinking Wilber for interviews. Like the late Bobby Hackett, Bob Wilber was more concerned about the future than the past.

The Yearnings CD pairs two great reed players in a memorable performance. The tunes were carefully chosen and include some Wilber originals interlaced with venerable standards. Backed by pianist John Sheridan, bassist David Stone and drummer Tony DeNicola, the duo plays some intense classic jazz.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bobby Gordon and Bob Wilber
  • CD Title: Yearnings
  • Genre: Traditional / New Orleans
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Arbors Jazz
  • Tracks: In a Little Spanish Town; It’s All In The Mind; A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody; I Ain’t Got Nobody; Yearnings; Spain; How Am I To Know; Blue Clarinet; Song Of The Islands; Sunday; Doodle Doo Doo; Bygone Days; All By Myself.
  • Musicians: Bob Wilber (clarinet, soprano sax); Bobby Gordon (clarinet); John Sheridan (piano); David Stone (bass); Tony DeNicola (drums).
  • Rating: Four Stars
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