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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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A Duet of One

IPO Recordings IPOC 1015

1. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
2. Slow Dance
3. Adagio Swing
4. I Want to be Happy
5. New Orleans
6. This is the Time
7. After You've Gone
8. Blue Waltz
9. Love of my Life
10. We'll Always Be Together
Eddie Daniels - Clarinet
Roger Kellaway - Piano

Although he started primarily as a saxophonist, playing tenor sax in the 1960s with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band, Eddie Daniels really made a big impression with his clarinet playing, which seemed as flawless at that of other clarinet giants like Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Buddy DeFranco. Yet his very perfection seemed to work against him, with some reviewers criticising his work for its supposed soullessness. He was even more suspect because he performed classical works as well as jazz. However, this new album proves that Eddie doesn't deserve to be underrated.

The same might be said for Roger Kellaway, whose pianistic skills are beyond doubt but who has somehow not achieved the fame of some others who are regarded more highly (e.g. Brad Mehldau). Nevertheless, Kellaway's recordings in the 1960s with the Clark Terry/Bob Brookmeyer Quintet showed that he can swing mightily and inventively, while his albums under his own name - for example, Spirit Feel - demonstrated his daring nature. All these qualities are evident in this album, recorded in April 2005 at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles.

Daniels and Kellaway fit together like hand-in-glove. Both men have quicksilver techniques. Like Jimmy Hamilton, Eddie has a pure, almost classical sound, which is balanced by Roger's touches of irreverent humour. And they are both happy to mix free improvisation with straightforward jazz. Notice, for instance, how After You've Gone starts as completely free playing, until Roger subtly hints at the tune before it appears in recognisable form. This number was a favourite of Benny Goodman's, to whom Eddie Daniels paid tribute with his 1992 album Benny Rides Again. This sort of freedom could probably only happen in jazz, where things occur on the spur of the moment, as the two players react to one another's ideas.

Adagio Swing is another track where the duo's fancies take flight: tinkering with a famous Adagio by Albinoni. This caters for Eddie's classical leanings as well as Roger's sense of adventure. On the other hand, We'll Always Be Together is a beautiful melody created by Eddie Daniels, with a wonderful filigree solo from the composer. This track also illustrates Kellaway's brilliance as an accompanist. In fact throughout the album, Roger exhibits his typical "Kellawayan dense-then-light harmonies and surprising cascades of notes" - to quote the sleeve-notes written by Paquito D'Rivera, a clarinettist who clearly appreciates both players.

The sleeve-notes remind us that Daniels and Kellaway have played together before - and their togetherness is manifest on every track. This CD is a "must-buy" for the serious jazz enthusiast.

Tony Augarde




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