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Eddie Daniels: Mean What You Say

Jim Santella By

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Straight-ahead jazz doesn't get much cleaner than this. When the Eddie Daniels Quartet goes to work, the business turns neat as a pin.

They swing, too, with the intuition of veterans who have yet to run out of ideas. Cohesiveness, tone quality, intonation and a personal feel for the music's syncopated rhythms give the group a positive foundation. To this formula, they add the kind of spontaneity and creativity that has given jazz its appeal for at least a hundred years.

Daniels, who's 64, played tenor with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra for six years when he was just coming up. He plays tenor on four of these twelve straight-ahead numbers, showing the same immaculate technique and rich tone on tenor that he has on clarinet. It doesn't get much better than this.

Playing tenor on "My One and Only Love, Daniels pours a ballad melody out slowly like fine wine. There's no reason to hurry. He and his veteran quartet make this one sizzle with the flame of heartache, knowing that its message can only be truly communicated if done right. So they light a few candles and put it on the table with slow and deliberate strokes, casually improvising to express fresh desire and playing it out at length to recall its familiar texture.

His tenor charges in an up-tempo romp through "You and the Night and the Music, gathering momentum alongside walking bass, light percussion textures, and a clarion piano that grabs hold and won't let go. The foursome revels in the excitement that this jazz standard holds.

Daniels swings on clarinet on favorites such as "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You and "It Had To Be You. He's on top of his game and won't let up. To use a basketball metaphor, Eddie Daniels has put it through the hoop from mid-court—nothing but net!


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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