The clarinet is in the midst of something of a comeback in jazz. While not reaching the pinnacle it occupied during the 1930's and 1940's, it has regained some of the prominence it had as a jazz instrument, and not just with New Orleans traditional jazz, but mainstream, post bop and modern as well. This resurgence has been helped by the likes of Don Byron, Allan Vaché, Ken Peplowski, Antti Sarpila and, of course, Eddie Daniels. Daniels has now added to the movement with this album backed by the very professionalhrBig Band.hris the name for the Frankfurt Radio Big Band.
The play list includes standards associated with clarinetists from the instrument's golden era, a couple of jazz standards and two originals by Daniels. One of the tributes he makes to his major influence, Benny Goodman, is a lovely recitation of Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye", Goodman's signature tune. Daniels' approach is somewhat different as he stays in a lower register, adds arpeggios, engages in dazzling runs and improvises on the melody line giving the tune an almost classical sound. In fact, there is a classical ambience throughout the set as many of the pieces come off as short concerti for clarinet and orchestra.
Classical bent notwithstanding, as the clarinet was the darling of the swing era, that genre is not ignored with such cuts as "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "Sing, Sing, Sing". But these references to Goodman's material are not knee jerk imitations by any means as he adds his own ideas. Daniels, ably assisted by the orchestra, takes a fresh look at this material and in doing so, help to dispel the misdirected notion that while a technical wonder, he is not especially innovative. Another tune where Daniels demonstrates creativity is on Thad Jones' "Three in One". Artie Shaw is also remembered with two of the tunes he made famous. All in all, There is not a disappointing track on the CD.
This joint venture between Daniels and the 16-piecehrBand is a successful one and would be a significant addition to any collection. Highly recommended. Visit Daniels at his Internet site at www.eddiedanielsclarinet.com.
Track Listing: Begin the Beguine; Stompin' at the Savoy; Stardust; Three in One; Quiet Now; Stride Rite; Waltz for Mirabai; Goodbye; Sing, Sing, Sing
Personnel: Eddie Daniels - Clarinet; Kurt Bong - Conductor; Harry Petersen, Heinz Dieter Sauerborn - Alto Sax; Wilson de Oliveira, Tony Lakatos - Tenor Sax; John Oslawski - Baritone Sax; Paul Lanzerath, Martin Auer, Alexandre Malempr