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I'm Coming Virginia
"Live at Smalls"
Filmed live at Smalls jazz club in Greenwich Village, New York on March 15th 2012 featuring Bob Wilber soprano sax, accompanied by Ehud Asherie at the piano.
In this footage filmed by Michael Steinman of "Jazz Lives", Bob Wilber celebrates his birthday by performing the old standard "I'm Coming Virginia" composed in 1926 by Donald Heywood, and lyricist Will Marion Cook.
Robert Sage Wilber was born in New York City on March 15th 1928 were he first fell in love with jazz introduced to him by his parents at a young age.
In 1935 while living in Scarsdale, New York Robert began his formal musical training under the instruction of clarinetist Willard Briggs.
Later on while attending high school his musical interests broadened to include the works of jazz artist of the 1920's & '30's such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Jelly Roll Morton.
During the mid 1940's Bob Wilber moved back to New York City and formed his own band the "Wildcats" with pianist Dick Wellstood and trombonist Ed Hubble becoming the first well known group of East Coast musicians to begin playing revived jazz of the 1920's.
By the early 1950's Bob had begun to perform and record with a string of legendary jazz musicians including Muggsy Spanier, Baby Dodds, Danny Barker, Bud Freeman, Pee Wee Russell, George Wettling, Jimmy McPartland, Wild Bill Davison, James P. Johnson, and perhaps most importantly Sidney Bechet.
Following his initial introduction to Bechet by mutual friend and clarinetist Mezz Mezzrow in 1944, Bob began to study under him in the spring of 1945 and even lived with him for several months.
His hard work paid off and Bob Wilber would claim his place in history as the best known Sidney Bechet stylist of all time and inevitably developed his own highly accomplished sound.
Bob Wilber, the soprano saxophone icon who served as the only direct link to jazz legend Sidney Bechet, passed away unexpectedly on August 4th 2019 at age ninety-one.
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