Legendary clarinetist/saxophonist Eddie Daniels, who has made his home in New Mexico for more than fifteen years, made a triumphant return to his hometown of New York in October, 2006 to record Homecoming - Live at the Iridium, a two-disc set recorded live at the famed New York jazz club.
Although Daniels is probably best known for his exquisite clarinet playing, he is a seasoned tenor saxophonist who first came to prominence in the 1960’s as member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis orchestra. Indeed, one need only listen to the disc's opening track, Daniels’ scorching take on Rogers and Hart’s "Falling in Love With Love," to realize that his tenor playing is as vibrant as ever. His fiery lines and robust tone will stand up to any of the young stalwarts currently garnering attention in the jazz world.
There is good reason, however, for Daniels association with the clarinet. More than a mere doubler, his sound is as precise and lush as any performer in jazz or classical. The full effect of Daniels prowess on the clarinet can be heard on "That’s Fa Afta," a barn-burner based on the standard "After You’ve Gone," and Gordon Goodwin’s swinging "Under the Wire."
The inclusion of John Lewis’ "Django" and the Roger Kellaway homage "Déjà vu MJQ" supports Daniels current musical vision of embracing the serious, polyphonic nature of the Modern Jazz Quintet. The addition of vibraphone master Joe Locke is a testament to Daniels fascination with the sleek sound of the MJQ. Locke takes advantage of every solo opportunity with unabashed passion. His soloing on "Under the Wire" and the aforementioned "Django" leaves no doubt as to his incomparable capability. Daniels and Locke are supported tirelessly by the veteran rhythm section of pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Dave Finck and drummer Joe La Barbera.