A Duet of One

A Duet of One

by Eddie Daniels


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A Duet of One

Clarinetist Eddie Daniels and pianist Roger Kellaway have been both revered and sublimated by critics and listeners during their long and sometimes obscured careers. Make no mistake, though -- they are great musicians who somehow do not get the credit they deserve as true jazz masters. When Daniels has played more commercially oriented music, he's branded a sellout, while Kellaway's profile is so low-key, he's practically off the radar except when releasing a recording. Fact is, Daniels is as limber, facile, tuneful, and literate as any clarinet player on the contemporary scene, while Kellaway's understated brilliance is balanced by a sense of wonder and empowerment tempered by a veteran's common sense and deep wisdom. Both have made important strides in recent years to change minds and hearts with several very fine efforts in the modern mainstream idiom, but these duets recorded live at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles have to be a high watermark for them, individually and together. All of the thin veils and veneers are torn down, as the two get to the meat and potatoes of these six standards and four originals, while also pulling out all the stops and digging into the main principle of jazz -- improvisation. No prior rehearsal and the use of basic charts as frameworks set this program apart from many others, as calculation is thrown out the window and standardized deviation is the new norm. This sense of taking poetic license and adopting reckless abandon is most evident on the counterpoint intro setting up the lengthy version of "I Want to Be Happy," a giddy, playful, even clownish derivation leading into spontaneous tempo changes and eventually a settled light swing. "After You've Gone" similarly reflects this sense of play in a fast improvised chase scenario, very much gone, made up on the spot, and truly fantastic. Cleverly interpreting Tomaso Albinoni on "Adagio Swing," the duo freely takes his theme liberally and literally to a developed modal arena quite unlike the Italian operatic Baroque original. "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" is bouncy off the bat, with the sprightly clarinet of Daniels and Kellaway's hopping piano both chock-full of soul. Kellaway's composition "This Is the Time" goes deep into the midnight-blue spectrum as a quirky stalking film noir dance that is more written and executed than made up. "Slow Dance" by Daniels and Hoagy Carmichael's "New Orleans" go to the softer side, the former handling the pristine end of understated romance, the latter a spacious and sentimental post-Katrina elegy. This is a wondrous duet date featuring extraordinary musicians taking chances and thankfully succeeding on all levels, not the least of which are in the enviable elements of pace, placement, and depth.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/10/2009
Label: Ipo Recordings
UPC: 0822019010159
catalogNumber: 1015

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