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Eddie Daniels & Roger Kellaway: Just Friends (Resonance)

Review of live recording by clarinetist and pianist from the Village Vanguard in 1988

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Cover of Eddie Daniels & Roger Kellaway album Just Friends
Cover of Eddie Daniels & Roger Kellaway album Just Friends

Eddie Daniels left his tenor sax in the case during the 1980s and devoted more time to his clarinet. The move paid off, and he pushed the instrument into new territories far beyond its typically honored tradition. There are moments on this recording, during his original “Reverie for a Rainy Day,” where Daniels creates such a rich, full-bodied sound that it doesn’t even sound like a clarinet but like some obscure instrument from a hidden corner of the world. It’s one of many such surprises that occurred on a Saturday night in November 1988 at the Village Vanguard.

Onstage with him were pianist Roger Kellaway, who had only recently struck up a musical rapport with Daniels, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Al Foster. George Klabin, now the president of Resonance Records, was in the audience that night and got permission from Daniels to record the set. Though he only had a cassette recorder perched on a table and rigged with a Sony stereo microphone, Klabin managed to capture the nuances of the music and the energy of the quartet.

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