Soprano Summit / Summit Reunion

It seemed unlikely that a group of classic jazz/mainstream musicians could be formed in the 1970s, a time best known for its “fusion years” in jazz. In 1972, Bob Wilber was joined by Kenny Davern at Dick Gibson’s Colorado Jazz Party. They had so much fun playing one song together that Soprano Summit was born. Wilber and Davern were both equally proficient on clarinets and sopranos. They were joined initially by guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and pianist Dick Hyman. Bobby Rosengarden was their drummer, while they recorded their first sets for the World Jazz label. Wilber and Davern began to work together with Marty Grosz, an acoustic guitar/vocalist, and several other bassists/drummers by 1976. This was when the group hit their stride. The band performed passionate versions of pre-bop songs and obscures. It was also known for their intense interplay that made it exciting and thrilling. Soprano summit had previously recorded gems for Chiaroscuro Jazzology, Concord and Fat Cat’s Jazz before their 1979 breakup. They also released a third album for World Jazz. Wilbur and Davern, who were now playing clarinet exclusively, had an informal meeting in 1986. Since then, they have been playing together occasionally, recording as Soprano Reunion in 1990 and 1992. Since then, the Concord and Chiaroscuro sets have been reissued on CD. They are highly recommended. Allmusic

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