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Hindustan Soprano Summit 1995
The Soprano Summit Reunion Band at the 1995 Bern Jazz Festival.
The 1970s, an era best known in jazz as the "fusion years," seemed like a very unlikely time to form a classic jazz/mainstream group. At Dick Gibson's annual Colorado Jazz Party in 1972, Bob Wilber and Kenny Davern so enjoyed playing together during one song that within a short time Soprano Summit was formed. Wilber and Davern both doubled on sopranos and clarinets, and were originally joined by pianist Dick Hyman, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, bassist George Duvivier, and drummer Bobby Rosengarden, cutting their first two sets for the World Jazz label. By 1976, when the group really hit its stride, Wilber and Davern were teaming up with acoustic guitarist/vocalist Marty Grosz and a variety of bassists and drummers. The band featured passionate versions of pre-bop standards and obscurities, and the interplay between the co-leaders was often quite intense and consistently exciting. Before their breakup in 1979, Soprano Summit had recorded gems for Chiaroscuro, Jazzology, Concord, and Fat Cat's Jazz, in addition to a third album for World Jazz. In 1986, Davern (who was now exclusively playing clarinet) and Wilbur had an informal get-together, and they have played together on an occasional basis since, making recordings as Soprano Reunion with the original rhythm section (with Milt Hinton filling in for the late Duvivier) in 1990 and 1992and here in 1995.
Pianist Johnny Varro, drummer Jake Hanna, guitarist Marty Grosz and it should be noted that bassist Milt Hinton is 85 years old at this festival and still plays with the best in the world.