Steve Wilkerson & Andrea Baker: Licorice Ice
Wilkerson's tone is pure, cool and completely without vibrato. He also takes full advantage of the flexibility offered by the clarinet. There's a middle register mahogany tone on "In a Mellow Tone". The coda here is a jazz variation of the clarinet introduction to George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue". He uses "China Boy" to show that he go to the stratosphere without screeching.
Wife Andrea Baker does not vocalize on all the cuts. She comes in on such tunes as her own "Sentimental and Blue" and a tender "Pennies from Heaven". While having great range, her phrasing and diction is such that she is very pleasant to listen to.
Licorice Ice is almost an hour of ballads and medium and up tempo music provided by an exceptional group of West Coast musicians with the emphasis on the clarinet. For me, this is the most interesting and varied album of music Wilkerson has produced to date.
Track Listing: The More I See You*; In a Mellow Tone; China Boy; Sentimental & Blue*; Sing, Sing, Sing; The Shadow of Your Smile; Squeeze Me*; Amazing Grace; Pennies from Heaven*; After You've Gone
Personnel: Steve Wilkerson - Clarinet/Soprano, Baritone, Alto & Tenor Saxes; Andrea Baker* - Vocals; Kevin Axt, Jeff Takiguchi - Bass; James Gadson - Drums; Gary Halopoff - Trumpet; Llew Matthews - Piano; Fino Raveratto - Guitar/Banjo; Harry Smallenburg - Vibes; Greg Solomon -Trombone
Record Label: Dane Records