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Claire Daly: Movin’ On

The CD title, Movin’ On, won’t be found among the 13 song titles, but the concept pervades the album. Some samples: “Softly as I Leave You,” “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” “After You’ve Gone,” “Goodbye.” Get the message? It’s Claire Daly’s way of dealing with a series of personal traumas, but if you’re expecting nearly 70 minutes of dirges played on that most appropriate instrument of sadness, the baritone sax, guess again. This is a gently swinging quartet session.

This is Daly’s second album as a leader, but her resume as a sidewoman stretches from Taj Mahal to the all-female big band Diva to Billy Taylor. Here she receives correct but uninspiring backing from pianist Eli Yamin, bassist Dave Hofstra and drummer Peter Grant.

Daly’s improvisations-usually in the thinner air of the tenor range-are clean and well sculpted, but seldom adventurous. Her most heartfelt ballad efforts can be heard on “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” and she responds nicely to guest trumpeter James Zollar when they trade eights on “If Ever I Would Leave You.”

Daly’s best moments can be heard on the swinger “You Said It,” and when she digs down into the bowels of her horn for Monk’s “Bye-Ya,” Mingus’ “Goodbye Porkpie Hat,” Mulligan-inspired “Love Me or Leave Me” she truly captures the essence of farewell.

Daly’s two vocals, “Smile” and “Some Other Time,” are unadorned, almost tentative, but she knows how to leave out words in order to shape a line.

Originally Published