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Swing Low Sweet Clarinet based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Vibrantly recorded in Germany in August, 1999, this magnificent disc is the result of a project that united saxophonist/clarinetist Daniels with the 17-strong Frankfurt Radio Big Band (a.k.a the hr Big Band). Revisiting classic tunes from the heyday of the big bands, as well as a few more contemporary charts, this lushly-orchestrated program is no exercise in nostalgia; everybody on board here plays with impassioned commitment. Starting off with a smartly syncopated arrangement of ¿Stompin¿ At The Savoy,¿ the album is a showcase for Daniels¿ clarinet (his 1966 debut LP for Prestige, First Prize!, was as a tenor saxophonist). An undisputed highlight here is a masterful arrangement of Hoagy Carmichael¿s ¿Stardust,¿ done by pianist Peter Reiter, which brings magical new colors to the song, while losing none of its classic smooch-ability quotient. Punchy brass dots ¿Three In One¿ in an arrangement that is literally a dream come true for the clarinetist: in his six years playing with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Daniels always wanted to perform the Thad Jones tune with clarinet in the lead part. Tunes like Denny Zeitlin¿s ¿Quiet Now,¿ and Gordon Jenkins¿ ¿Goodbye¿ (a Benny Goodman signature piece) allow Daniels to explore the softer, lower registers of his instrument; his smooth, rich tone goes straight to your heart. Tenor saxophonist Wilson de Oliveira¿s setting for ¿Goodbye,¿ one of the most haunting songs of the 20th century, lends an imposing, challenging swagger to its core of lonely pathos. Daniels¿ own ¿Stride Rite¿ is a bluesy swinger that one could easily imagine Fred Astaire having his graceful way with. The disc ends with an exciting live performance of the great Gene Krupa flag-waver, ¿Sing, Sing, Sing.¿ Over densely orchestrated harmonies that have an Ellingtonian air of sophistication, Daniels runs the full range of his instrument, quoting from ¿Softly As In A Morning Sunrise¿ before the band drops away, allowing Wolfgang Haffner to take over the famous drum part. Daniels later engages him in a duet, and the overtones from his clarinet perfume the air like a fine wine, left to breathe before it¿s finally savored. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.