For their third collaboration on IPO records, veteran musicians pianist Roger Kellaway and multireed player Eddie Daniels recorded a benefit concert for "Santa Fe Center for Therapeutic Riding." The resulting Duke at the Roadhouse: Live in Santa Fe is a tribute to pianist and composer Duke Ellington comprising eight of his standards and an original a piece by Kellaway and Daniels. This unique and elegant interpretation of Ellington's work is laid back but vibrant, exuberant yet mature.
On trombonist Juan Tizol's classic, "Perdido" for example, the melody is woven out of overlapping harmonic layers creating a dramatic three way conversation. Daniels' warm, resonant clarinet soars and drops unaccompanied in exhilarating acrobatics. Cellist James Holland's darkly hued con- arco tones adorn the tune with poetic flourishes while Kellaway's keys cascade brightly in evocative and refreshingly spontaneous phrases.
Kellaway's haunting "Duke in Ojai" features his warm, intimate piano lines against Daniels' twittering, mellow clarinet as the two improvisations alternatively intertwine and disentangle in an imaginative and lyrical duet. The Daniels penned title track, on the other hand, is more cinematic with his soulful wail flittering over Kellaway's echoing, percussive chords.
Daniels' opens "Sophisticated Lady" with a hypnotic, emotive tenor saxophone solo. The duo goes on to deconstruct the piece tastefully and with deference down to its Ellingtonian essence. Daniels' conversational sax alternates with Holland's mellifluous bowing as they state the theme on "In a Mellow Tone." Kellaway's expressive, meandering extemporization seamlessly flows out of the main motif and then disappears back into it with graceful style.
Kellaway channels hints of Harlem stride on the passionate "Creole Love Song" with his edgy, blues drenched, pianism as Daniels' reverberating clarinet sings a longing song of infatuation and desire. The trad-jazz influence is apparent on "I'm Beginning To See The Light" as well. Their whimsical and playful exchange is full of quiet joy and refined virtuosity.
Both Kellaway and Daniels have had extremely versatile careers that have taken them, at times, away from the world of jazz. With this delightful album they demonstrate that they remain jazzmen par excellence as they create a work full of sublime finesse, an apt homage to the most exquisitely urbane of all American musicians.
I’m Beginning to See the Light; Creole Love Call; Perdido; Duke at the
Roadhouse; In a Mellow Tone; In a Sentimental Mood; Sophisticated Lady;
Duke in Ojai; Mood Indigo; It Don’t Mean a Thing.
Eddie Daniels: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Roger Kellaway: piano; James
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