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Eddie Daniels: Homecoming: Live at the Iridium

Because Eddie Daniels had relocated to New Mexico from his native New York City years ago, his 2006 engagement at New York’s Iridium was indeed a homecoming. He had given up his tenor saxophone to become one of the premier jazz clarinetists of all time, but he recently started playing tenor again, and he played both horns on his return to the city. Expressing a fondness for the chamber jazz of the Modern Jazz Quartet (“Jazz has lost a little bit of that beauty and sophistication,” he says in the liners), Daniels recruited vibraphonist Joe Locke to supplement pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Dave Finck and drummer Joe La Barbera. Further underscoring the MJQ connection, the double-CD set includes Roger Kellaway’s “Déjà VU MJQ” and a 14 1/2-minute version of the group’s classic “Django.”

Daniels’ exquisite playing, featuring one of the most beautiful clarinet sounds anywhere, retrieves some of that lost “beauty and sophistication.” Tunes like Ranier’s pensive “Resolution” and Mike Patterson’s poignant “Not Alone” contribute to the effort. But Daniels and friends also deliver some hot hard bop, such as the blazing “Falling in Love with Love” and the runaway “That’s for Afta,” Daniels’ take on “After You’ve Gone.”

Originally Published