All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Eddie Daniels and Roger Kellaway: Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Resonance Records has dramatically improved the respective discographies of Bill Evans (Live At Art D'Lugoff's Top of The Gate (2012), Some Other Time: the Lost Session From the Black Forest (2016), Another Time: The Hilversum Concert (2017)); Wes Montgomery (Echoes of Indiana Avenue (2012), Wes Montgomery: In The Beginning-Early Recordings from 1949-1958 (2015), Smokin' in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966) (2017)); and Gene Harris (Live in London (2008), Another Night In London (2010), Three Sounds: Groovin' Hard -Live at the Penthouse 1964 -1968 (2017)). The label has had some very impressive one-off live recordings (as of this writing) that include: Tommy Flanagan: Tommy Flanagan / Jaki Byard: The Magic of 2 (2013), John Coltrane: Offering: Live At Temple University John Coltrane: Offering: Live At Temple University (2014), and Thad Jones and Mel Lewis: All My Yesterdays: The Debut 1966 Recordings at the Village Vanguard (2016).

Adding to this latter group is the present Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard featuring clarinetist Eddie Daniels and pianist Roger Kellaway (in the company of bassist Buster Williams and drummer Al Foster). This is a live recording, from New York City's fabled Village Vanguard on November 26, 1988, captured using a single Sony ECM-939LT Stereo Microphone recording to a cassette tape) placed on a table in front of the stage by one George Klabin, Resonance Records' producer. On the front end here, the sound of the recording is really very good. The technology revolution that has occurred over the past 30 years has the capacity of salvage many recordings like this. To the credit of Resonance engineering, this is a very well-presented concert, sonically.

That said, the sonics are only the beginning of this recital's charms. The recording is made up of extended considerations of four original compositions, two by Daniels and two by Kellaway, and a single standard, the title track. The setting and presentation are close and intimate. The swing is nuclear, driven by a better than superb rhythm section. The two protagonists of the show sound relaxed and as if they are enjoying themselves. The disc opens with Kellaway's nominal blues "Some O' This and Some O' That," which kicks off this a complex and circuitous head, before straightening out into a lengthy stroll. Daniel's "Reverie for a Rainy Day" is a loping and precise ballad, carefully constructed and thoughtfully arranged. It allows Daniels freedom to color outside the lines to a beneficial effect. "Samba for Wolfie" is a wonderful take off of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and Quintet in A major. It is finely crafted, sporting Daniel's generous sense of humor and wonder. Kellaway responds in kind, the two producing a completely satisfying miscibility at the interface of classical and jazz.

The title piece is the longest of the selections, ringing in at just over 17 minutes. Daniels injects a bit of freedom into the introduction, a freedom immediately met with Kellaway's considered ruminations. The two take their time developing the old song, approaching the familiar melody covertly as if by night. The quartet does not fully dispense with the freedom aspect as they present the song as a freewheeling interpretation that incorporates a good bit of jazz history through the late 1980s. Williams provides a long and introspective solo that softens any sharp edges the performance has. The disc closes with a length take on Kellaway's exhilarating "The Spice Man." The complexity that characterized "Some O' This and Some O' That," is amped up to eleven on a scale of ten, producing a thrilling high-wire-act-without-net. Again, Williams solos, this time arco, issuing a slightly dissonant vision within the complex piece. Drummer Foster solos before everyone joins in for an explosive coda, signaling the end of a fine performance. It is all pretty good for a concert captured on cassette tape nearly 30 years ago.

Track Listing: Some O’ This and Some ‘O That; Reverie for a Rainy Day; Wolfie’s Samba; Just Friends: The Spice Man.

Personnel: Eddie Daniels: clarinet; Roger Kellaway: piano; Buster Williams: bass; Al Foster: drums.

Title: Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Resonance Records


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Sunlight CD/LP/Track Review
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Meet Me At Minton's" CD/LP/Track Review Meet Me At Minton's
by James Nadal
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "Of Light and Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "Open Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Open Borders
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Earthshine" CD/LP/Track Review Earthshine
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Paint" CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "The Source" CD/LP/Track Review The Source
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 26, 2017