Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Eddie Daniels Homecoming

I had never heard Eddie Daniels play before I got this double disc, Homecoming: Live at the Iridium in the mail. The record has a blend of standards and originals played by Daniels on clarinet and tenor, Joe Locke on vibes, Tom Rainer on piano, Dave Finck on bass, and Joe LaBarbera on drums. In terms of traditional jazz instrumentation and performance, this has been some of the most enjoyable music I've heard in while. Daniels interprets the melodies very honestly and tastefully, with a gorgeous tone and balanced, lyrical phrasing. In improvising he is both light on his feet and very grounded in approach, playing with such forthrightness and ingenoutiy that the musical language comes out crisp and his expression is clear.
The whole band plays with great intelligence and feel, but the next voice to really catch my ear is the vibes of Joe Locke. I really dig the way his improvisations expand rhythmically and harmonically while usually retaining a central point of focus in whatever he's doing. I feel like he really takes you for a ride. Eddie has an amazing sound on the clarinet, which is what he's known for, but he also has a cool thing going with his tenor playing. I would place it as closest to late Joe Henderson, with the nicely spread tone and the feeling that any corner could be a big waterfallish arpeggiated gliss. It's just good music, so check it out if want to!


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