The homecoming in the title of Eddie Daniels' new album refers to the first New York club appearance in two decades in 2006 by the Brooklyn-born clarinet virtuoso, who's made his home in New Mexico for more than a decade. The live two-CD recording from Iridiumjust five blocks from Daniels' alma mater, the old High School of Performing Artsalso highlights a return to an instrument he's played infrequently in recent years, the tenor saxophone.
Joined by West Coast cohorts Tom Ranier (piano) and Joe La Barbera (drums), along with New Yorkers David Finck (bass) and Joe Locke (vibes), Daniels plays up a storm on both instruments, proving his tenor chops on surprisingly fast and furious versions of "Falling in Love with Love and a Coltrane-inspired "Night and Day. He slows things down for a heartfelt take on Ellington's "Warm Valley that evokes one of Duke's great tenor players, Ben Webster.
But it's the clarinet that remains Daniels' bread and butter and he reminds listeners throughout the album why he's been one of the top jazz (and classical) performers on the instrument for decades. For an example of Daniels' sheer virtuosity, check out his explosive playing on "That's for Afta, a burner based on the changes of "After You've Gone. For a taste of his harmonic inventiveness, give a listen to "Deja Vu MJQ, an elegant reading of Roger Kellaway's homage to the Modern Jazz Quartet. The MJQ influence is present throughout the recordingindeed he says his vision of his sound is "the Modern Jazz Quartet along with clarinet most obviously on an inspired fourteen-minute version of the group's classic "Django, with beautiful contributions by Locke.
Track Listing: Falling In the Love With Love; Resolution; Not Alone,
Under the Wire; Django; Love's Long Journey; That's
For Afta; Deja Vu MJQ; Warm Valley; Night And Day,
Prism; Chosen Words; Django; That's For Afta; Falling
In Love With Love.
Personnel: Eddie Daniels; clarinet; Tom Ranier; piano; Joe Locke,
vibraphone; Dave Finck; bass; Joe La Barbera; drums.
I was first exposed to jazz by my high school girlfriend's father. On the one hand he was the school's Vice Principal, on the other
he was a big Miles Davis fan. He gave me my first jazz record, Miles at the Blackhawk.