1. Strike Up the Band
2. Capriccio Twilight
5. America the Beautiful
6. Etude of a Woman/Pretty Women
7. Just Friends
8. A Place That You Want to Call Home
9. 50 State Rambler
Eddie Daniels - Clarinet
Roger Kellaway - Piano
a review of an earlier collaboration between Eddie Daniels and
Roger Kellaway, I said they "fit together like hand-in-glove".
This album proves the truth of that statement. Recorded live in February
2011, they blend with each other in a way that shows how closely they
listen to one another. You can hear them reacting to one another empathically.
Both men have impeccable techniques together with a seriousness of
purpose which nevertheless allows for many moments of wit and humour.
The seriousness is displayed in such tracks as Somewhere (from West Side Story), where Daniels delivers the melody with an almost classical poise. But this is salted with comedy, which includes an impudent quotation in Strike Up the Band, a tune which one might not expect in a jazz recital. And both players have an adventurousness which is revealed in such tunes as Thelonious Monk's Rhythm-a-ning. Here and elsewhere, they play not only in duet but also take choruses as soloists, which inevitably leaves them exposed: an exposure which they can both take in their stride.
A superb example of their work together is America the Beautiful, which begins with Daniels soberly stating the theme and then improvising in two frolicsome choruses. Kellaway starts his solo pensively but gradually moves more into blues territory, with some down-home chords. Unfortunately the none-too-bright audience starts applauding before he has finished his solo, but it doesn't detract from the powerful effect of Eddie and Roger's playing.
This album also demonstrates the duettists' talents as composers. Roger Kellaway wrote three of the tunes: the darting Capriccio Twilight; the nostalgic A Place That You Want to Call Home; and the sprightly 50 State Rambler. Eddie Daniels composed Etude of a Woman, which is linked with Stephen Sondheim's Pretty Women to make a tender picture of the feminine sex.
My only complaint is that the clarinet sometimes strays out of tune, especially when Eddie hits the high notes. But this is a minor flaw in an album that deserves to be snapped up asap. It captures creativity exactly as it happens.