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Rich Corpolongo Quartet: Smiles

Possessor of the warmest, most lovingly cultivated clarinet tone in the world today, Kenny Davern is also one of the most uncompromising and single-minded jazz artists who ever lived. Not only has he long shorn his arsenal of all such chop-distractors as baritone, soprano, and C Melody saxophones, but he has also continued to absorb and assimilate into his own voice over the past four decades the best from his favored panoply of predecessors, a highly selective group of odd bedfellows ranging from such models of classic New Orleans purity as Jimmie Noone and Irving Fazola to the timbral, harmonic, and rhythmic renegades, Frank Teschemacher and Pee Wee Russell. Unlike most jazz musicians of his generation, in the 1950s Davern remained untouched by the universally attractive intricacies of bop, but just as perversely, in contrast to the older mainstream jazzmen with whom he worked, he was quick to note the relevance of Monk to the often askew angularity of the phrasing he wanted to develop in his own playing. Indisputably, it is from such imaginative, gumbo-like assortments of influences as these that original styles are born.

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