Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Eddie Daniels and Roger Kellaway - "Just Friends" on Resonance Records

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Some of us have been around the Jazz World long enough to remember when pianist extraordinaire Roger Kellaway first joined the Clark Terry - Bob Brookmeyer Quintet in the early 1960s and rocked and rumbled his way through a history of Jazz piano during some of his fascinating and fun solos.

And when he moved to the Left Coast, we continued to follow his electronic adventures on the Spirit Feel Pacific Jazz LP he made with a monster quartet made up of multi-reed and woodwind player Tom Scott with Chuck Domanico on bass and Johnny Guerin on drums.

We also dug him with cellist Edgar Lustgarten in The Roger Kellaway Cello Quartet which also highlighted the talents of guitarist Joe Pass.

In the decade of the 1980’s Roger’s duo album with bassist Red Mitchell, his quartet LP with guitarist Jim Hall, and his work on select recording with Paquito D’Rivera allowed for a continuing appreciation of his many talents both as a performer and as an arranger composer.

In 1991 we were thrilled to have a chance to hear him play solo piano on Volume 11 of the Concord Jazz series recorded in the wonderful acoustic confines of the Maybeck Recital Hall in Berkeley, CA.

More recordings with Red Mitchell, Ruby Braff as well as additional solo piano on Soaring and Live at The Jazz Standard populated the 1990s and early 2000s.

Along the way, I was particularly impressed with a recording that Roger made with clarinetist Eddie Daniels in 1988 for GRP -Memos from Paradise: The Music of Roger Kellaway.

Eddie Daniels blew us all away [pun intended] when he joined the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Orchestra during its maiden voyage in 1966 on tenor saxophone.
A single clarinet solo recorded with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis orchestra, "Live at the A single clarinet solo recorded with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis orchestra, "Live at the Village Vanguard" garnered sufficient attention for him to win Downbeat Magazine's International Critics New Star on Clarinet Award. This conversion to clarinet was not new, for Eddie began clarinet at age 13 and received his Masters in Clarinet from Juilliard. “Winning numerous Grammy awards and nominations, Eddie Daniels revolutionized the blend of Jazz and classical.”

The latter synthesis culminated in Breakthrough a 1985 GRP recording that Eddie made with The London Philharmonia Orchestra on which he played exquisite clarinet interpretations of C.P.E. Bach, J.S. Bach and Jorge Calandrelli’s Concerto for Jazz Clarinet and Orchestra.

Throughout the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, I collected all of Eddie’s GRP albums including, Nepenthe, Blackwood, To Bird With Love, This Is Now, Benny Rides Again [with vibist Gary Burton] and Under The Influence.

But I kept coming back to Memos from Paradise: The Music of Roger Kellaway because of the affinity I heard in the musical personalities of Eddie and Roger. They just clicked so well together. It didn’t hurt, too, that the rhythm section was made up of Eddie Gomez on bass and Al Foster on drums. Reams of well-deserved accolades have been accorded Eddie’s work on bass but I’ve always considered Al to be one of the most underrated and unappreciated drummers in Jazz; impeccable time and superb colorist, he is an extraordinarily sensitive accompanist.

Imagine how delighted I was when Chris DiGirolamo of Two For the Show Media informed me of EDDIE DANIELS & ROGER KELLAWAY Just Friends: Live At The Village Vanguard which was released on Resonance Records Deluxe CD & Digital Editions on September 29, 2017.

Here’s Chris’ press release in which he describes how, when and why the recording was made and its distinguishing features. At the conclusion of Chris’ media release you’ll find a video produced by Resonance Records that contains a graphic description about this historic recording.

Resonance Records is Proud to Present
Previously unheard recording from clarinetist Eddie Daniels & pianist Roger Kellaway joined by Buster Williams on bass and Al Foster on drums
Recorded live at the historic Village Vanguard on November 26, 1988
Vital addition to the Daniels/Kellaway discography includes 20-page booklet with vintage photos, essays by Resonance producers George Klabin and Zev Feldman, jazz writer John Murph, plus interviews and reflections from Daniels, Kellaway and Buster Williams

Deluxe CD & Digital Editions Available on September 29, 2017

Los Angeles, August 2017 — Resonance Records is proud to announce the release of Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard, a spirited never-before-heard live recording by clarinetist Eddie Daniels and pianist Roger Kellaway featuring bassist Buster Williams and drummer Al Foster. Recorded by Resonance Records founder George Klabin in the front row at the storied Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village, New York City in late 1988, Just Friends is a revelatory meeting of two jazz masters, with one of the best imaginable rhythm sections, deep in dialogue on a set including the venerable standard “Just Friends” and two original pieces each by Daniels and Kellaway.
Klabin received permission from the band to record on this Saturday night of their weeklong run at the Vanguard, and came prepared with a high-quality cassette recorder and a single Sony stereo microphone. “I just placed the mic on the table facing the band, hit ‘record’ and let it run. It was as simple as that,” Klabin recalls in his liner note essay. “The tape sat in my personal collection ever since I recorded it. Nearly three decades later, in 2016, I pulled it out and listened to it. Immediately I was transfixed again. I decided to send digital copies to Roger and Eddie for their enjoyment.” Discussions ensued. Klabin got the go-ahead from all four quartet members and began laying plans for this remarkable DIY recording to finally come to light. The album cover photo is by the legendary jazz photographer William Claxton, with interior images by Tom Copi and Richard Laird, all beautifully assembled into the CD package by longtime Resonance designer Burton Yount.

Never intended for commercial release, Klabin’s recording is nonetheless notable for its clarity and intimacy. It also documents a significant period in the Daniels-Kellaway relationship, born from a suggestion by Jack Kleinsinger that they perform together for his beloved “Highlights in Jazz” concert series some years before the Vanguard date. By now, Daniels and Kellaway have documented their inventive partnership as a duo on a number of recent recordings including Live at the Library of Congress, Duke at the Roadhouse: Live in Santa Fe and A Duo of One: Live at the Bakery. They’d also recorded in various ensemble contexts years ago on such albums as To Bird With Love and Memos from Paradise: The Music of Roger Kellaway. Now with the release of Just Friends, the historical record of this special musical bond is even more complete. The lyricism, swing and sheer unpredictability that Daniels and Kellaway bring to the date, as to every encounter, is truly stunning — not least on the abstract rubato intro of the nearly 20-minute-long title track. The presence of Buster Williams and Al Foster, who had never before worked as a rhythm section with these two co-leaders, only adds to the music’s spontaneity and spark.
And yet, as John Murph observes in his liner notes, Just Friends is “Not only a fascinating musical snapshot of Daniels’ early years playing with Kellaway, it introduces the larger jazz world to rare compositions penned by the two.” Kellaway’s fiercely uptempo but strikingly multifaceted “The Spice Man” is something the pianist hasn’t revisited and doesn’t intend to (“I just don’t want to play that fast”). His “Some O’ This and Some O’ That” reveals a Thelonious Monk influence, perhaps Art Blakey as well, in its driving shuffle feel and dazzling solos. Daniels’ contributions, the gorgeous ballad “Reverie for a Rainy Day” and the Mozart-inspired “Wolfie’s Samba,” are also rarities, never again performed by the clarinetist.
Just Friends also offers a window into a particular period in jazz history, when Daniels was a “roving studio rat” on multiple reeds who had logged many hours on the Vanguard bandstand with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. Williams, as noted in his booklet interview, had just begun working with Kenny Barron in the supergroup Sphere, as well as the Timeless All-Stars featuring Cedar Walton and others. Al Foster, still in the midst of his long Miles Davis association, was also playing with the likes of Joe Henderson, John Scofield and more. Kellaway, with sideman credits including Wes Montgomery, Oliver Nelson, Clark Terry, Sonny Rollins and Herbie Mann, was recording sporadically but always superbly as a leader, bolstering the case for himself as one of the most compelling if overlooked pianists in jazz. Just Friends adds to our understanding of this elusive but important figure.
Adding to the auspiciousness of Just Friends is the fact that Bill Evans ’Some Other Time: The Lost Concert from the Black Forest, a landmark Resonance release from 2016, won top honors for Historical Album of the Year in the annual DownBeat, JazzTimes and Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) critics polls. As Nate Chinen of remarked in a story this April about Resonance’s efforts tying in to the annual Record Store Day, the label has built a one-of-a-kind profile with its deluxe historical releases, including recent items by Wynton Kelly, Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane and Jaco Pastorius. “Each release is a gem,” wrote Chinen, and Just Friends certainly upholds that lofty standard.
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)
Resonance Records is a multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning label (most recently for John Coltrane’s Offering: Live at Temple University for "Best Album Notes") that prides itself in creating beautifully designed, informative packaging to accompany previously unreleased recordings by the jazz icons who grace Resonance's catalog. Headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA, Resonance Records is a division of Rising Jazz Stars, Inc. a California 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation created to discover the next jazz stars and advance the cause of jazz. Current Resonance Artists include Richard Galliano, Polly Gibbons, Tamir Hendelman, Christian Howes and Donald Vega.
For more information please contact:
Chris DiGirolamo at Two for the Show Media:
Tel: (631) 298-7823 — Email:

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