Soprano Summit – Episode 22


On this episode of the Chiaroscuro Podcast, we feature Soprano Summit, a long-running collaboration between reed men Bob Wilber and Kenny Davern, starting in the 1970s.

About Soprano Summit

Bob Wilber, who passed away in 2019, was a long-time advocate for classic jazz styles, and was a student of Sidney Bechet, one of the most influential of the early generation of jazz musicians. Bechet’s instrument was the soprano sax, and he developed a distinctive sound, so Bob Wilber took up the instrument, but was also known for playing a variety of reed instruments including baritone sax, C-melody sax, tenor sax and clarinet. Starting in the late 1940s, he led Dixieland style groups in the Boston area, whose members included influential pianist Dick Wellstood

Kenny Davern, a Long Island native, who passed away in 2006, specialized in clarinet. He was a founding member of the World Greatest Jazz Band of Yank Lawson and Bob Haggart. Previously, he played with the Dukes of Dixieland. Davern also took up the soprano sax around that time, and was at a jazz party in Colorado where he met Bob Wilber, and they began their collaboration, which became a very successful group in the traditional jazz world. 

They first recorded together as Soprano Summit in 1974 for World Jazz Records, and made their Chiaroscuro debut in 1976.

About The Chiaroscuro Podcast

The duo first released Chalumeau Blues in 1976, which they followed in 1977 with Crazy Rhythm. Those albums have been combined as a two disc set simply called Soprano Summit.