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Eddie Daniels Quartet: Mean What You Say

C. Michael Bailey By

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The presence of Hank Jones permeates this recording so much that the Eddie Daniels Quartet may be better titled the Hank Jones-Eddie Daniels Quartet on Mean What You Say. In fact, the whole quartet, rounded out with bassist Richard Davis and drummer Kenny Washington, is top-drawer, which goes a long way in making Mean What You Say one of the finest mainstream jazz recordings of the year. Covering the Swing Era and bebop, Mean What You Say is no mere blowing session. The performances are precise and houghtful.

Eddie Daniels is considered foremost among performing clarinetists. He also plays a pretty mean tenor saxophone. Daniels opens the recording with Thad Jones's "Mean What You Say, allowing Jones' elder brother Hank an extended introduction. The piece provides a microcosm of the rest of the recording. Daniels plays tenor with a tightly focused, cylindrically dense tone. He navigates the head and solo fluidly. Jones's piano contains the history of jazz, from Lil Hardin Armstrong and Earl Hines to Junior Mance and Gene Harris. The piece sports traded eights among everyone, with a nuclear swing.

That was just the beginning. Daniels plays clarinet on the lion's share of the disc, beginning with a beautifully nostalgic "It Had to be You. Jones bounces with stride accents while Washington's ride cymbal dictates the swing time. Billy Strayhorn's "Passion Flower is delicately supported by Washington's supple brushwork and Richard Davis's fat bass notes.

"Why You...," based on a simple blues motif, is an original penned by Daniels and Jones that allows the principals to stretch out. The eights traded in this piece are thrilling. The two also attack bebop on the Charlie Parker vehicle "My Little Suede Shoes. Mean What You Say is a superb recording which deserves consideration as one of the best of the year.

Visit Eddie Daniels on the web.


Track Listing: Mean What You Say; It had to be You; Passion Flower; Nagasaki; My One and Only Love; Why You...; Azure; The Touch of Your Lips; You and the Night and the Music; I'm Getting Sentimental Over You; My Little Suede Shoes; How Deep is the Ocean.

Personnel: Eddie Daniels: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Hank Jones: piano; Richard Davis: bass; Kenny Washington: drums.

Title: Mean What You Say | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: IPO Recordings


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