Mr. Bilk plays the sort of jazz you'll often hear in elevators, airports or when you're put on hold on the telephone. So no roaring saxophones, no freakish drum solos but calm and soothing clarinet music, laced with strings. Nothing terrible exciting, but nothing terribly either. It is also the music that the band, dressed in white tuxedos, plays while you're having dinner in one of those classic hotels of the 1930's - or perhaps I've watched too many Bogart movies.
The problem is exactly those elevators, which have done a lot of damage to what is essentially fine music. Mr. Bilk is outstanding in his playing, but the songs may appear as slightly non-descript. For instance, playing the Beatles' "She's leaving home" doesn't add much to the original, but instantly brings back memories of the elevator.
Jazz modernists might easily kock down Mr Bilk, but in his own way he's just as extraordinary as the latest band on the Blue Note label. He's part of a longstanding British jazz tradition, with one foot firmly in New Orleans styled (clarinet) jazz.
If you're truly a jazz fan, this one should be an integral part of your jazz collection. If not, surprise your dear old auntie with some nice old jazz.