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After 10 years with the all-female big band Diva and three years with former Microscopic Septet leader Joel Forrester, saxophonist Claire Daly finally waxed digital sides as a leader. She debuted as front-woman with Swing Low (Koch Jazz 7872, 1999) and is now following this up with her new release Movin' On. Daly has kept the rhythm section of Eli Yamin, David Hofstra and Peter Grant intact from Swing Low and has replaced tenor saxophonist George Garzone with trumpeter James Zoller. An additional change from the earlier release is the debut of Daly as a singer.
Movin' On is a bit of a concept album in that all of the pieces deal with leaving. Daly suffered several significant personal losses prior to recording this disc and these losses greatly influenced the song selection and her performance. Most poignant is her LOW register playing on Mingus' "Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat," which begins as a slow dirge and then picks up into a swinging 4/4 that resolves the depressed introduction. Yamin turns in a blistering piano solo before the song returns to the March beginning. James Zoller is on hand for two pieces and plays his best Dizzy/Miles mute on "If Ever I would Leave You." Zoller's open bell on Tommy Turrentine's "You Said It" is a virtual clinic in Hard Bop trumpeting.
Daly turns in two vocals on "Smile" and "Some Other Time." Her voice is refreshingly unadorned and unaffected by influence. The sheer honesty of her tone and delivery is almost embarrassing, like we overheard her expressing a confidence to a lover. Her saxophone style is much like her vocal style. While Gerry Mulligan and Pepper Adams may come to mind, she is the most lyrical baritonist performing, and that is no small feat. Movin' On is a really superb recording from the ground up.
Track Listing: Softly as I Leave You; You Said It; Every Time We Say Goodbye; Goodbye; Smile; After You’ve Gone; If Ever I Would Leave You; Goodbye Porkpie Hat; Birdie Bye; A Bientot; Bye–ya; Love Me or Leave Me; Some Other Time.
Personnel: Claire Daly: baritone saxophone, vocals; Eli Yamin: piano; Dave Hofstra: bass; Peter Grant: drums; James Zollar: trumpet (2, 7)