Remembering Bob Wilber

(1928-2019)

Bob Wilber performed for Chiaroscuro as sideman, arranger and/or leader on 10 projects that spanned the years 1976-1995. It is widely considered that his best recordings were the studio Summit Reunion sessions that were done at Rudy Van Gelder’s legendary studios.

We first heard Bob in 1958 as a member (tenor saxophone) of the Benny Goodman Orchestra and became a fan of the Bechet Legacy in 1981. By the next year he was serving as Director of Jazz Studies at Wilkes College in Wilkes Barre, PA where he presented lecture/performances that included guests Sammy Price, Doc Cheatham and many others.

In 1984 Wilber conducted a version of The World’s Greatest Jazz Band in a Celebration of Music and Art featuring paintings and arrangements by Bob Haggart. That same year he was featured as special guest commentator on the holiday program Christmas Music, The Jazz Feeling which was produced by WVIA-FM and distributed to NPR member stations. Through it all it was a pleasure to work with this extraordinary musician.

-Andrew Sordoni

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