Eddie Daniels – Live at the Iridium (IPO Recordings) – 2007
The homecoming referenced in the title is the return to a New York club by the acclaimed, intense Brooklyn-born multi-reed master, who has lived in New Mexico for many years. Daniels is the preeminent exponent on clarinet, his primary instrument in both jazz and classical music, but on this date, he also revisits his past by playing tenor saxophone (as he did in the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra from 1966-73, and then again on One More – The Music of Thad Jones in 2005). While his tenor playing is very, very good, it is on clarinet where he excels not only because of his virtuosity, but because of the gorgeous, buttery tone, appreciated most by saxophonists who know just how difficult it is to play this little devil well. His playing is completely amazing, almost inhuman from a technical standpoint, with all the fire, feeling, and emotion that one could realistically muster.
This is a 2-disk recording beautifully engineered in the live setting and has numerous great moments with a mixture of standards like the pulse-quickening “Night and Day” which is actually Coltrane-esque with quotes from “Giant Steps”; and clever originals, such as “Deja Vu MJQ,” “That’s For Afta” (Eddie’s burning remake of “After You’ve Gone”). The players are a mix of East and West Coasters with Eddie’s usual quartet configuration augmented by the energetic vibist, Joe Locke, who is amazing on this date (check out “N & D” and “Django” in particular). Drummer Joe La Barbera has been a fixture on the California scene for nearly three decades since coming to prominence (relatively speaking) with Bill Evans; and pianist Tom Ranier is much less well known and he plays so superbly that it makes you wonder why. The CDs are at times the Modern Jazz Quartet plus clarinet – not by accident—but most often it is so much more than that. This is a beautiful and swinging offering from top-notch players.
Personnel: Eddie Daniels, clarinet and tenor saxophone, Joe Locke, vibes, Tom Ranier, piano, David Finck, bass, Joe La Barbera, drumsTrack Listing: DISC 1: Falling In The Love With Love; Resolution; Not Alone; Under The Wire; Django; Love's Long Journey; DISC 2: That's For Afta; Deja Vu MJQ; Warm Valley; Night And Day; Prism; Chosen Words; Django; That's For Afta; Falling In Love With Love