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CD Review:
Saxophone Journal Sept.-Oct., 2006

CD Review: Saxophone Journal Sept.-Oct., 2006  Click to read article

Pending CD Review:
JazzTimes August 2006 by Owen Cordel

CD Review: JazzTimes August 2006 Click to read article

June 7, 2006

CD Review: by Grady Harp for

For any of those music lovers out there who may think that anything performed outside the classical music purview is not real, take a listen to this impeccably performed and recorded CD. Not only is Eddie Daniels a brilliant musician on both the tenor sax and clarinet, he has an ear for line and riff that would make even the most daring of our classical music composers envious.

But this recording is not about Eddie Daniels: this recording is the totality of the Quartet assigned to his name. All the musicians here are first class: Hank Jones on piano, Richard Davis on bass, and Kenny Washington on drums. Their interrelationship in thinking is so keen that it seems wholly improvised, yet just when we've been dazzled by the individual passages for each instrument the quartet brings us back into the melody line, having embroidered the theme richly and imaginatively. 'It had to be you' is a delight, 'Passion Flower' has never sounded so made of love, 'Why you..' has a duet between piano and clarinet that starts a wild little drama, 'Azure' is Ellington as his best...the list goes on and on.

For those who have always wanted to enter an appreciation for jazz but have been afraid to approach, pull up a chair and join the growing throng. This is as good as it gets...pure virtuosity!
Grady Harp, June 06

May 31, 2006

Eddie Daniels is one of the best reed players on the Planet! There, I said it! Because it's ****** true. Just listen to this CD as he plays clarinet and tenor sax and remember Artie Shaw and Bennie Goodman and James Moody for their forthright accommodations. That's what makes this a real treat for you have something to think about and standard by which to judge.

“It Had To Be You” is a family favorite and Daniels makes it his own as you will attest at closing time as “Passion Flower,””Nagasaki”and”Why You.

Eddie Daniels is backed by an incredible group, known for it's commitment and growth.

Hank Jones, piano, Richard Davis, baa and Kenny Washington, drums. Then you'll commit when Daniels sings on tenor “You And The Night And The Music.”

Dick Crockett
“The Voice” 88.7fm

May 31, 2006

It's not really a fair comparison because Daniels is one of the truly great clarinetists of our time and the majority of the 20 th Century as well. There's a redundancy there but there's none greater than improvised art, an ability to play the same song, never in the same way twice, like nettles held gently in your hand and scattering with the breeze, never the same way twice only similar, meaning in this case every Daniels performance is special. Life is full of inordinate possibilities as expressed in modern jazz. Here's a man who plays clarinet effortlessly with higher conscious skill, just letting the moment do the work. Daniels plays Parker with veritable ease, grace and humor on “My Little Suede Shoes.” And oh, this band of wonders! Anytime Hank Jones sits in, your in a for special treat, like a Good Humor off the truck jingling through your neighborhood.
Dick Crockett


May 16, 2006
Mean What You SayThe Eddie Daniels Quartet | IPO Recordings
By Jerry D'Souza

 Eddie Daniels has been under the radar for several years now. The woodwind specialist has surfaced to play on occasion, but the presence that once marked him has been missing. He is now back with a stellar cast and a new recording. Daniels is in top-notch form on Mean What You Say, and hopefully he will continue to be more visible in performance and on record.

The selection of well-tested standards serves the band well. The musicians unveil them with ease, but also with feeling. Each piece is shaped into an experience that lingers.

Daniels and Hank Jones wrote “Why You...,” which starts off with on odd metre from Daniels on clarinet before the melody emerges and Jones takes off with striking chords that shift the point of emphasis. It’s short and striking. Daniels' work on the tenor saxophone is sturdy and deep. The buoyant “You and the Night and the Music” has him taking off on a high-flying trajectory. His journey is not smooth, since he favours breaking up the line. There is no certain track he will take as he lets loose staccato swishes in the melody and then goes into an earthy furrow, all of which are wrapped up nicely. Jones builds crystal edifices with a fine sense of artistry while Daniels and drummer Kenny Washington add the final impact as they trade phrases.

The band gives ballads an iridescent glow. Jones is at his lyrical best on “My One and Only Love,” but Daniels brings it home, not just through his characteristic warmth, but also though the shifting landscape of his journey.

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 and tenor sax; Hank Jones: piano; Richard Davis: bass; Kenny Washington: drums.

All material copyright © 2006 All About Jazz and contributing writers. All rights reserved.

Jazz Review Reviewed by Richard Bourcier

Review: While I have no idea who is behind IPO Recordings, they seem to be able to do no wrong. Their small catalog of artists like Roger Kellaway, Carrie Smith, the late Sir Roland Hanna and members of the Thad Jones tribute group have garnered nothing but 4 and 5 star ratings from Downbeat and others. Here’s their newest CD.
Reedman, Eddie Daniels, has been out of the spotlight for almost fifteen years. Daniels made his recording debut in 1966 with Bill Evans. There are dozens of fine sessions with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis big band and a few with Thad’s smaller groups. The clarinetist also recorded with Sir Roland Hanna, Freddie Hubbard, Earl Klugh and vocalists Morgana King, Dakota Staton and Sylvia Syms. Over the years, records were made with his own groups on labels such as Choice, Ebb, Prestige, Marlin and Muse. Much of the reed player’s output is now out of print and rests in the hands of collectors.
Happily, Daniels is back and his skills are undiminished. Stellar jazz greats Hank Jones, Richard Davis and Kenny Washington join him with delightful selection of jazz standards. Both Jones and Davis had worked with Daniels almost 40 years ago within the Thad Jones – Mel Lewis band.
The album has its share of outstanding tracks. Daniel’s fine clarinet passages are heard on “Azure,” “The Touch Of Your Lips” and the old Tommy Dorsey theme, “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.” The latter finds Daniels in a most inventive mood with ample assistance from Hank Jones, Richard Davis and Kenny Washington.
Fans of Eddie Daniel’s tenor talents will enjoy “How Deep Is The Ocean,” “Mean What You Say,” “My One And Only Love” and the swinging “You And The Night And The Music.” This disc might become one of your “desert island” favorites. It’s very easy to like. You can’t play it just once!
 Tracks: 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.
 Record Label Website:
  Reviewed by: Richard Bourcier <

May 10

CD Review: Jazz Week May 15, 2006

Eddie Daniels Quartet Mean What You Say (IPO) AS ONE OF the greatest living clarinetists, the Grammy winning Eddie Daniels also spends a lot of time playing classical music. Here, however, he does his first full-on jazz record in a decade and dusts off his tenor saxophone to celebrate. He’s joined by a stellar line-up – pianist Hank Jones, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Kenny Washington – to run through a dozen tunes. Mostly a program of standards, the album is punctuated with several highlights. Daniels poignant clarinet work on Strayhorn’s “Passion Flower” speaks volumes while the band holds back, with the exception of Jones’s solo, letting the leader shine. The evergreen ballad “My One And Only Love” finds Daniels on tenor, wonderfully referencing Coltrane’s classic version with a light bluesy feel that is effortless dexterous. Kicking up its heels on the Charlie Parker gem “My Little Suede Shows,” the band has rollicking calypso pulse that never flags. Great players playing classic tunes, this one is a no brainer.
– Tad Hendrickson

May 9, 2006

Media Alert: Eddie Daniels/’Mean What You Say/IPO (St. Date May 9, 2006)
CD Review: Will be reviewed in the August 2006  Issue of Down Beat Magazine
Jim Eigo
Jazz Promo Services

May 9, 2006

Eddie Daniels/'Mean What You Say'/IPO (Street Date May 9, 2006)

'Mean What You Say,' the new recording by Grammy Award winner Eddie Daniels, is the first straight-ahead jazz recording by the great clarinetist in a decade, and features his return to the tenor saxophone, as well as the clarinet. The solid-gold rhythm section includes Hank Jones, Richard Davis, and Kenny Washington.

Radio Promo: Mike Hurzon -- Tracking Station,

May 8, 2006

CD Review:
Review Courtesy

Mean What You Say
Eddie Daniels | IPO Recordings
By Jim Santella

 Straightahead 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 straightahead 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 uptempo 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.

Eddie Daniels Mean What You Say (IPO IPOC 1009)

This exceptionally attractive mainstream set from Eddie Daniels finds the veteran saxophonist/clarinetist in very good form. His clarinet playing is incisive and inventive, his tenor saxophone fluent and melodic. Backing Eddie is a rhythm section leaders must dream about: Hank Jones on piano, Richard Davis on bass and Kenny Washington on drums. The music Eddie has chosen includes standards such as 'It Had To Be You' and 'How Deep Is The Ocean' alongside compositions from jazz masters such as Charlie Parker, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington and Thad Jones. Eddie plays tenor on four tracks, clarinet on eight and there is not a moment without interest or excitement or pleasure or any combination thereof. This is mainstream jazz at its very best and this CD belongs on the shelves of any discerning collector.

May 4, 2006

Media Alert: Eddie Daniels/’Mean What You Say/IPO (St. Date May 9, 2006)

CD Review:

Review Courtesy

Mean What You Say
Eddie Daniels Quartet | IPO Recordings
By C. Michael Bailey

 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 thoughtful.

Eddie Daniels is considered foremost among performing clarinetist. 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.

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: double bass; Kenny Washington: drums.

May 3, 2006

Media Alert: Eddie Daniels/’Mean What You Say/IPO (St. Date May 9, 2006)

CD Review: American Wired Link
Mean What You Say

Often credited with helping to bring the clarinet into the modern jazz era, Eddie Daniels is, as of 2006, celebrating four decades as a recording musician. Yet somehow he has managed to fly below the radar on most popular jazz screens. Joined here by piano legend and former Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra band mate Hank Jones, Daniels is on a mission to establish his place in the jazz pantheon once and for with Mean What You Say, his first straight-ahead jazz effort since 1994’s Real Time. Switching over to tenor on four of the CD’s 12 tracks and backed by Jones’ solid accompaniment, Daniels infuses new life into this collection of mostly standards from some of the 20th century’s greatest songwriters. On the almost-obligatory “It Had to Be You,” Daniels interprets the melody so sweetly that one quickly forgets the sappy rendition barfed up by Harry Conic, Jr. Hank Jones’ smoothly flowing, innovative piano lines and solos on cuts like “Nagasaki” and “My One and Only Love” merely confirm what is already common knowledge: he’s one of the best of the living. Rounding out the quartet and staying discretely in the shadows are Richard Davis on bass and Kenny Washington on (mostly brushed) drums.  --  Dean M. Shapiro

May 3, 2006

Media Alert: Eddie Daniels/’Mean What You Say/IPO (St. Date May 9, 2006)

CD Review: Review Courtesy
Mean What You Say
by Dan McClenaghan

View the article here:

Mean What You Say
Eddie Daniels | IPO Recordings

Reedman Eddie Daniels, best known as a virtuosic clarinetist who crosses the borders between jazz and classical, offers up his first straightahead jazz set in a decade on Mean What You Say. It's a classic sound: tenor sax and clarinet backed by an understated but stellar rhythm team comprised of the venerable Hank Jones (piano), Richard Davis (bass) and Kenny Washington (drums).

Daniels is best known for his clarinet playing, and his profile that rose considerably after he won a Grammy for his 1989 performance on the Roger Calloway arrangement of “Memos From Paradise.” But he opens this set on tenor sax with Thad Jones' “Mean What You Say,” perhaps taken from his six-year stint with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, alongside current accompanists Hank Jones (Thad's older brother) and Richard Davis. His tone on tenor is fresh and clean, his approach forthrightly straightahead on the opener, as well as the classics “My One and Only Love,” “You and the Night and the Music” and Irving Berlin's “How Deep is the Ocean.”

Daniels' clarinet work on the rest of the tunes, including Strayhorn's “Passion Flower,” Ellington's “Azure” and Ray Noble's “The Touch of Your Lips,” has elegance written all over it. Daniels has a sweet, clean, classy, flawless style, and a classy and flawless rhythm team behind him.

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 Sued Shoes; How Deep is the Ocean.

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

All material copyright © 2006 All About Jazz and contributing writers. All rights reserved.

March 29, 2006 CD Reviews: Eddie Daniels Quartet.."Mean What You Say"..IPO Recordings 2005
Posted by: adminon Wednesday, March 29, 2006 - 02:19 PM
Reviews By John Gilbert

The extraordinary piano of Hank Jones and the tenor sax of Daniels 'mean
what they say' on the title tune. The comping of Jones even shines
through on the solo of Daniels, which is quite an accomplishment. Jones'
solo is a case study in 'touch' and ideation. He has lost not a whit in
his dexterity or anything else for that matter. The 8 bar exchanges
between drummer Kenny Washington and Daniels completes a nice foray into
the land of bop.

"My One And Only Love" A sensitive tenor solo by Eddie Daniels is the
benchmark of this tune.

"You And The Night And The Music" again features some solid tenor magic
from Daniels. Hank Jones' mastery is spotlighted magnificently in this
bright interpretation of this classic. Hank Jones is Hank Jones and that
says it all.
5 Stars

March 28, 2006

CD Reviews: Eddie Daniels "Mean What You Say" IPO
Posted by: admin on Tuesday, March 28, 2006 - 12:11 PM

Reviews Fat sound...Rollicking technique....Innovative interpretive panache.......This is the Eddie Daniels I know and love....The 'reedman extraordinaire' as it were. Plus, Eddie washes us with the great music of Thad Jones in performing the CD'S signature tune which Thad wrote......'Mean What I Say.' Thad's brother Hank in the piano seat for the project is another definite plus. And then Eddie, laying some of his superb tenor work on us as well says something for the imminent success of the disc, & where it's headed in the overall scheme of things. And might I suggest that where this CD is headed is under the lasers of countless CD players. This is damn good stuff!! This is the American Songbook with consummate class. Eddie remains the unique sounding reed player whose distinctive sound can cut through any blowing with subtle curves or whispered nuances. Eddie is destined to continue to make creative, centered, focused art for many more years to follow.

March 3, 2006

From Eddie Daniels Releases "Mean What You Say" on IPO Recordings
Posted: 2006-03-07

"Mean What You Say" Featuring Hank Jones

The new release is called Mean What You Say, a new recording by Grammy Award winner Eddie Daniels, leading a quartet that includes piano legend Hank Jones and the great bass and drums combination of Richard Davis and Kenny Washington.

Due in stores on May 9, 2006, this will be the first straight-ahead jazz recording by the great clarinetist in a decade, and features his return to the tenor saxophone, as well as the clarinet. The solid- gold rhythm section includes Hank Jones and Richard Davis, who along with Eddie were charter members of the legendary Thad Jones - Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.

Since coming to prominence with the Jones - Lewis band, Eddie Daniels has achieved a unique place among clarinet players, in both the jazz and classical worlds. The eminent jazz critic Leonard Feather said of Eddie, “It is a rare event in jazz where one man can all but reinvent an instrument bringing it to a new stage of revolution.” With a memorable series of recordings on the famous GRP label, including the Grammy Award winning Memos from Paradise, Eddie revolutionized clarinet playing, combining jazz and classical influences in a unique and highly personal statement. No less an authority than Leonard Bernstein said that “Eddie Daniels combines elegance and virtuosity in a way that makes me remember Arthur Rubenstein. He is a thoroughly well-bred demon.”

Mean What You Say is a major musical statement and a return to Eddie's roots in modern jazz, this CD is his first straight-ahead jazz recording in many years. As his collaborators, he chose two of the living giants of jazz, Hank Jones and Richard Davis, with whom he first played almost 40 years ago, along with the great drummer, Kenny Washington. Hank, the dean of modern jazz pianists, was one of Eddie's first employers in the late 1960s, in frequent gigs led by Hank around New York. The pleasure of their reunion is reflected in the spirit of the music on the album, and the rapport between these two legends on their respective instruments is one of its highlights.


Promusica Chamber Orchestra

Barbara Zuck

Violinists could learn a few things from Eddie Daniels. His solo clarinet playing in a Jorge Calandrelli version of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons — with a Fifth Season added — made this familiar music so dramatic and emotionally urgent that it bordered on the operatic.

Daniels joined the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra last night in the first of two performances of this acclaimed arrangement, recorded some years ago by Daniels and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. The conductor from that recording, Bernard Rubenstein, traveled to the Southern Theatre to guest direct the ProMusica performances at the orchestra’s home.

On the surface of it, jazz and baroque music might not seem to have a lot in common, but, as Daniels told the audience, improvisation is the common ingredient. In fact, the clarinetist, who has appeared several times with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, warmed so enthusiastically to this topic that he edged closer and closer to the lip of the stage and Rubenstein had to physically restrain him from toppling into the pit.

Vivaldi and his contemporaries expected soloists to strut their stuff in flashy improvisations, just as jazz musicians of yesterday and today have and still do. This special arrangement left plenty of room for Daniels to show off his virtuosic technique and his imagination.

The four sonnets that accompany the concertos are filled with images and descriptions of activities associated with each season, from spring through winter. Going back to the composer’s poetry as well as his concertos seems to have inspired Calandrelli, and by turns Daniels, to put the poetry in the music.

In fact, these images were so vividly executed in sound that you experienced the seasons right along with the music. You could hear the birds of spring, feel the heat of summer, experience the hunt of fall and shiver with the icy temperatures — to, frankly, a much greater extent than in most traditional performances. Playing all the violin solos on clarinet and then taking wing (!) in his improvisations, the music — and the seasons — came to vibrant life.

Spring, the opening concerto, found the ProMusica strings and continuo rather obviously alternating with the jazz quartet — Daniels, a jazz pianist (Mark Flugge), double bass (Doug Richeson) and drums (Jim Rupp). This was perhaps less successful than the three concertos to follow, which integrated the contemporary harmonies and the instruments more fully from the start.

In the Fifth Season, with Daniels moving to sax, jazz dominated. Happily, the "fifth" season isn’t winter.

2/10/3 LA Times - Jazz Review Section
"Swinging tribute to Goodman a showcase for flame-carrier"
By Don Heckman

The music of Benny Goodman was in the air Saturday at Cal State Northridge's Center for the visual arts. Not from the King of Swing himself, of course - he died in 1986 - but in the playing of a musician who Goodman mentioned as a prime candidate for carrying the torch of the jazz clarinet: Eddie Daniels.

In a program overflowing with Goodman-associated tunes, Daniels made a convincing case for the recommendation. But he did so without emulating Goodman, emphasizing his own unique musical persona.

Daniels' individuality was apparent in such classics as "Memories of You", "It Had To Be You", "Stompin at the Savoy" and "After You've Gone," the first two rendered with an ear-caressing, warm-toned sound; the last two with fluid virtuosity and a burning, rhythmic swing. His masterful control of the instrument's rich, expressive potential allowed him to move through the upper register with extraordinary tenderness, then shift suddenly into tornadoes of notes swarming across the length and breadth of his horn.

Backing was provided by a sterling ensemble of local musicians - pianist Tom Rainier, bassist Dave Carpenter and drummer Peter Erskine - playing with supple rhythmic intensity, offering an understated but supportive "wind-beneath-his-wings" accompaniment for Daniels' flights of improvisational fancy. Topping off an entertaining evening, Rainier doubled the tribute to Goodman by picking up his own clarinet on a pair of numbers (including Tommy Dorsey's theme song, "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You") to knock out an impressive exchange of riffs with Daniels.

LA Times - "Raising the clarinet's profile"

Think clarinet and what comes to mind? Licorice stick? Marching-band music? Benny Goodman?

Sure, all those things and probably a lot more to the many who suffered through clarinet lessons at age 10 or 11. But what doesn't immediately come to mind is a sense of the clarinet as a major jazz instrument - at least not in recent years.

It started differently, of course, New Orleans jazz is almost unimaginable without it's counterpoint and curlicues. And one could make a case for clarinetist (and soprano saxophonist) Sidney Bechet as one of the music's first great stars. With the arrival of swing, several of the era's most visible bandleaders were advocates of the licorice stick: Goodman, of course, but also Artie Shaw, Woody Herman and Jimmy Dorsey.

Bop, however, never seemed to fit particularly well with the instrument, with Buddy DeFranco, Jimmy Hamilton, Tony Scott and Stan Hasselgard among the rare clarinetists bringing inspiration and innovation to the genre. In the decades beyond the 50's, its visibility has been even lower.

But this weekend Southland jazz fans will have opportunities to experience two rare examples of the instrument's remarkable potency.

Eddie Daniels has largely been the exception to the low visibility principle. If anyone is carrying the torch for the jazz clarinet, and doing it with a considerable degree of success, it's the Grammy-winning Daniels, who performs tonight with pianist Tom Garvin, bassist Dave Carpenter and drummer Peter Erskine at Cal State Northridge's Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. Given the current state of the instrument, it's not surprising that Daniels will showcase some Goodman classics. "But I'll do more than that," he says. "There are so many guys who do the Benny Goodman imitation and do it well. But I'm going to play the way I play because I can't xxxxxxxxxxxx Benny's known for and then also do some modern tunes, some of my own kind of tunes. I think I owe that to the audience - to play a few things of my own, to give them my own vision of the clarinet."

That vision is extremely wide. Daniels, 61, has recorded albums embracing everything from swing to bebop to classical music (including a fascinating rendering of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" in which the violin solo is replaced by his clarinet).

But his first real presence as a clarinetist came as the result of spontaneous decision. Working in the saxophone section of the hard-driving Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band in the late 60's, he experienced a kind of instant musical epiphany.

"All the saxophones had 32-bar solos on a Thad tune called "Little Pixie" Daniels recalls "and when it came to me, I just decided to pick up the clarinet. I knew we were doing a live recording and I wanted to get it on there. And a while later, I suddenly get this plaque in the mail - a Down Beat [magazine] award for talent deserving wider recognition."

More recognition for Daniels has followed, despite the fact that the instrument's popularity appears elusive at best.

"I've made my choice," he says. "The clarinet is the vehicle for my expression. But it's hard to play; it's a lifetime of commitment. Which probably has something to do with its low visibility. Everybody has toyed with the instrument. But to carry through with it, and have a commitment to keep going that's a whole other thing."

Pianist, composer and former clarinetist Clare Fischer has a similar affection for the clarinet. And, in the weekend's other spotlight event for the instrument, he will lead his Clarinet Choir in a program at the Jazz Bakery on Sunday.

Fischer, who has arranged for performers in every imaginable style, has said, "I come from Meade Lux Lewis through Nate Cole and end up with Igor Stravinsky voicings." Add to that a thorough understanding of Brazilian rhythms and a sensitivity to the ??????????? clarinets, from bass to soprano), and his Bakery performance affords yet another display of the beauties of this too-little appreciated instrument.

These reviews posted 2/15/01:

Duo Practically Does Entire Ken Burns Series in One Song by Don Heckman from The LA Times 2/1/01

A jazz duo may be the most demanding of instrumental combinations-musical tightrope walking without a net, in which the players are constantly obliged to find a mutual sense of creative balance.

But when it works, as it did with clarinetist Eddie Daniels and pianist Roger Kellaway at the Jazz Bakery Tuesday night, it is a joy to experience. The veteran duo, opening a weeklong run during which a recording will be extracted from the performances, was in rare form from the start of the very first number.

Beginning with some spontaneous, free-floating improvisation, they gradually shaped their interaction until it surfaced as the beginning of the opening number, the Vincent Youman's standard "I Want to Be Happy." Even here, however, once into the tune's specific melodic and harmonic structure, Daniels and Kellaway moved with remarkable freedom. The rhythms ebbed and flowed, fragments of stylistic variation darted, like bright colors, through the fabric of the music, the entire process energized by the sheer creative electricity flowing between the two players.

When the piece finally ended, Daniels jokingly noted, "Well we just did the entire Ken Burns series in one song."

Which actually wasn't much of an exaggeration. The level of improvisation and musical duality taking place between Daniels and Kellaway could only have been produced by players with technique, imagination and a historical overview of the entire panorama of jazz.

Although the opening piece established a remarkably high level of achievement, there was no drop in quality as the set continued. Working with other familiar standards- Eubie Blake's "Memories of You", Guy Wood's "My One and Only Love" - as well as jazz items such as Benny Goodman-Chick Webb classic "Stompin at the Savoy" and Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't" the duo found a cornucopia of improvisational riches in each.

Often humorous- Daniels tossed in a Woody Woodpecker quote at one point-the pair connected in such symbiotic fashion that they could stretch and diminish phrases, open their lines with dramatic pauses, and find ways to conclude in complete synchronization.

It's worth noting that each player is a virtuoso, and neither hesitated to use a full panoply of technical abilities. But fast fingered lines always served a purpose-often providing bright slashes of musical color, never delivered as showboating displays of skill.

The evening was, in short, an example of chamber jazz at its best, produced by a pair of artists who walked their musical tightrope without a single misstep.

From Variety 2/2/01 by Richard S Ginell

The Jazz Bakery has quickly become a favorite recording locate for dueting jazzers who like obliterate the boundaries between the factions within jazz and those between jazz and other forms. This week, the tape machines may be catching a classic in the making: an extraordinary, at times uproarious encounter between clarinetist Eddie Daniels and pianist Roger Kellaway.

Although they collaborated in the late 1980's on a beautiful record "Memos from Paradise" from clarinet, string quartet and rhythm section, Kellaway and Daniels have been playing duets together only since a July date in Santa Fe. While both are virtuosos with a lot to say and technique to burn, they had the irreverence to steer way clear of the meandering, cerebral, head-in-the-clouds atmosphere that often bogs down duo sessions.

As always, Kellaway would veer in unpredictable directions, running the boogie, sneaking in some stride, throwing in the kinds of quirky asides, pauses and sudden changes of form, risking musical pratfalls yet always landing solidly on his feet. In doing so, he avoided another trap that can plague these encounters, for underneath everything, even in his more pensive limpid moods, he never lost touch with the jazz pulse.

Daniels often would mimic Kellaway's ideas and spin flashy swift flurries of notes all over the instruments range, yet again there was never a sense of using technique for its own sake.

Their mutual delight in trading dazzlingly fluid licks trills, cross rhythms, inside and obvious musical jokes Wednesday night was infectious; the audience picked it up right away, and the reaction fed back the to the performers and drove them on. Tunes like "I want to be Happy" and yes, "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" were ripe targets for kidding yet the pair also had the taste to play ballads such as "My One and Only Love" and "We'll Always Be Together" relatively straight (save for an occasional deflating Kellaway comment). In the second set, they ventured a more or less written-out excerpt from "Memos From Paradise" Kellaway's jaunty "Capriccio Twilight"

Such were the high loose spirits of the night that Daniels broke up laughing before he could finish the last note of Well, you Needn't" It's not often you see a grown jazzman laugh these days.

Leonard Bernstein once said Eddie Daniels, "combines elegance and virtuosity in a way that reminds me of Artur Rubenstein. He is a thoroughly well-bred demon."

"I never had such a good time with the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto as I did with Eddie Daniels and the Detroit Symphony. His great musicianship, his many tonal colors and his great understanding of the music made it an extraordinary evening of music." Neeme Järvi

"Daniels' playing is more than technically flawless. It is sophisticated, not only in sound but in style and content. He can do anything he wants with a clarinet and he knows what to do. It just doesn't get any better."
Barbara Zwek, The Columbus Dispatch

He opened with a virtuosic reading of Nielsen's "Clarinet Concerto" in which his rhythmic flexibility gave the work a spark of spontaneity.
Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press

Vivaldi Reviews

"Vivaldi would probably have loved it: Jazz clarinetist Eddie Daniels playing the violin solo passages in "The Four Seasons" with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Just the sort of adaptation that the Baroque master (who composed 500 or so concertos and who wasn't adverse to occasionally modifying the same work for different instruments) might have done himself.
Don Heckman - The LA Times

Antonio Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" is celebrated with supreme respect, awesome technique and passionate purpose. It is more than simply adapted from violin to clarinet, it's accelerated to an exciting new level by solid jazz licks. … Daniels' always elegant voicings soar over the lush arrangements" - Patricia Myers - Jazz Times

Daniels succeeds on all counts. He is "true to the original" in Vivaldi's written passages and impressively effective as a jazz improviser. That he manages to do both is testimony to his astonishing ability to move easily from the work's brutally demanding violin segments to the flowing lyricism and surging rhythms of the improvisations. Don Heckman - The LA Times

Copyright 2002 through 2019 Eddie Daniels