Eddie Daniels & Roger Kellaway: Blue Waltz
A Duet of One (IPO Recordings IPOC1015)
Recorded: live at The Jazz Bakery, Los Angeles, March 30-April 2 ,2008
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
In the liner notes to this offering, Paquito D'Rivera talks of the "Miracle of the Lead Sheet." The lead sheet is a sparse musical outline consisting of the basic melody, chord symbols and cues used by the musicians, leaving them plenty of room to explore uncharted waters around the barest of structures. Using only lead sheets for this venture, Eddie Daniels and Roger Kellaway create spontaneously evocative music from their combined deep well of experience and musical rapport.
On Daniels's wonderful "Blue Waltz," the ease with which he evokes such strong emotional sounds from the uniquely woody sound of his clarinet bears witness to a master at work. This difficult lead woodwind was once revered for its immediately identifiable timbre and hauntingly hollow-toned fluidity. Put in the driver's seat by the likes of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and Woody Herman, the clarinet subsequently took a back seat to the more immediate and urgent tenor sax. That is too bad, for in the hands of such an accomplished player as Daniels, the "licorice stick" rivals the most expressive of saxophones. Daniels's clarinet is unmatched in its purity of tone, and his flawless execution through the most challenging improvisations creates a unified mellifluous sound that is a unique voice in jazz.
Daniels's "Blue Waltz" is also the perfect vehicle for Kellaway's pianistic musings. His inventive excursions into melodic wonderland are always surprising. With a technique ranging from delicately tickling to harshly hammering, Kellaway is an inspired solo performer. He is also an accompanist par excellence as he masterfully and empathetically dances around Daniels's poignant notes in the most complementary way. Together these underappreciated titans of jazz are paired to great effect and to the joy of their grateful audience live at Los Angeles' Jazz Bakery. Thankfully this collaboration was captured for all of us to enjoy.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello