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Daniels, Eddie & Roger Kellaway: Just Friends

Here's another little nugget from the past brought to life by the folks at Resonance Records. The year was 1988 and the concert took place at the iconic Village Vanguard on November 26 in New York City. Playing that night were:

Eddie Daniels (clarinet)
Roger Kellaway (piano)
Buster Williams (bass)
Al Foster (drums)

The conclusion I drew after listening to Just Friends is just what a superstar quartet this was. Daniels and Kellaway first played together at a 'Highlights in Jazz' show for Jack Kleinsinger and from there a three decade friendship was born. These guys had an immediate chemistry which can be gleaned almost immediately once you put this disc in the player. There are five tracks in total, four originals two each from Daniels and Kellaway and one standard. The concert begins with Kellaway's "Some O' This And Some Of That" featuring incredible soloing on the clarinet and piano while a steady groove holds it all together. The soloing is boisterous and melodic and boasts some interesting builds and a sublime ebb and flow. These guys were locked in from the very first note. "Reverie For A Rainy Day" drips with wistfulness and smoky nostalgia, with a melody that is both uplifting and heartwarming. The languid easy going beat, punctuated with the occasional spry-in-your-step rhythm is the definition of laid back cool. With "Wolfie's Samba" the pace begins slowly with wonderful bass and clarinet before a samba groove picks up the tempo. The melody and musicianship are top notch including more fabulous clarinet and piano solos with lightning fast runs. The band changes pace with ease exhibiting an uncanny control of their instruments. Next is the John Klenner/Samuel M. Lewis composition "Just Friends" which begins at a slow pace featuring builds of clarinet and piano before a more uplifting groove settles in. At over seventeen minutes long the band has ample opportunity to display their formidable chops as everyone gets in on the action. The clarinet work on the album ending "The Spice Man" is absolutely draw dropping whether enchanting the listener with naked solos or setting a blistering pace, playfully entwining with Foster's imaginative drumming. The piano and bass are pretty good too.

Just Friends documents a dazzling jazz performance by an extremely talented quartet. This album should certainly turn some heads.

Released on Resonance Records.

Track Listing:
1. Some O' This And Some O' That (9:32)
2. Reverie For A Rainy Day (5:37)
3. Wolfie's Samba (9:09)
4. Just Friends (17:47)
5. The Spice Man (15:57)

Added: November 1st 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 1212
Language: english

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