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Eddie Daniels: Mean What You Say

It has been 39 years since I saw the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band with Daniels on tenor saxophone. Since then he has established himself as a clarinet virtuoso adept in both classical music and jazz. This album, his first straightahead jazz date in a decade, reunites him with fellow Jones-Lewis band charter members Hank Jones (piano) and Richard Davis (bass), with Kenny Washington on drums. In a word, Daniels dazzles.

There are eight tracks on clarinet, four on tenor, and Daniels dances through each with a fluency that evidences an instant mind-spirit-instrument connection. His clarinet tone and lines bespeak his classical training: the arpeggios, the flutelike high register, the nuances of attack and timbre, the balance of delicacy and bravura display. His tenor, no less virtuosic, is robust and hard-charging with a pronounced attack. The tenor tracks include the title cut (by Thad Jones), “My One and Only Love,” “You and the Night and the Music” and “How Deep Is the Ocean.”

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