Wolverines Jazz Band of Bern

The Wolverines of Bern at 35

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Organized in 1961, the Wolverines of Bern (who are based in Switzerland) celebrated their 35th anniversary with this 1998 CD. Four of the seven members of the Dixieland-oriented band have been with the group since its birth. Through the years, the Wolverines have often featured guest musicians; on this studio session, they have gone to the extreme, featuring all of the members of Bob Wilber's all-star New Generation Jazz Band. Wilber's ensemble (consisting of the leader on clarinet, soprano and alto, trumpeter Byron Stripling, trombonist John Allred, pianist Mark Shane, guitarist Dave Cliff, bassist Phil Flanigan, drummer Joe Ascione, and their guest Antti Sarpila on clarinet and tenor) join the Wolverines in different combinations including, at times, a double frontline. The Wolverines (which feature trumpeter Hans Zurbrugg, Beat Uhlmann on reeds, and trombonist Rudolph Knopfel) mostly hold their own, although Stripling's all-too-occasional outbursts steal the show in spots. Fortunately, the liner notes identify all of the soloists. Among the many highlights of this consistently joyous set are the three clarinets on "Original Dixieland One Step" and Stripling's vocal on "Please Don't Talk About Me When You're Gone," the interplay between Sarpila's clarinet and Wilber's soprano on "Careless Love," the swing-oriented "Air Mail Special," and hot renditions of "China Boy" and "Ole Miss." Trad fans will definitely want this release.

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