June 2005

Claire Daly
Heaven Help Us All
Daly Bread

Baritone saxophonist Claire Daly's Heaven Help Us All (Daly Bread) is a laid-back blowing date, conceptually run-of-the-mill except for the odd inclusion of a "human beat box" on a couple of tracks. While the album's ambition is modest, it does have its rewards. Daly is a light-toned player, at her best on medium to medium-up tempo swingers like "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and "My Blue Heaven" and the gospel-ish title track.

Daly shapes her notes and varies her articulations nicely. Her lines are supple, straightforward and affecting. She also contributes a couple of charming vocals. Gracing the album is talented percussionist Warren Smith, whose boppish work on vibes is a well-chosen foil to the leader's baritone. Pianist Eli Yamin is the rare young bopper who evidences an overt Don Pullen influence. He has some good moments. This is an honest, unpretentious and sincere album-to which I say, hallelujah.

Originally published in June 2005
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