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LICORICE CITY. CLARINETS RULE!

only in New York!  in the space of three days three major clarinetists were feted: Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Eddie Daniels.  Jack Kleinsinger’s Highllights In Jazz, celebrating year 40, presented the Peter and Will Anderson Orchestra in a program of the music of Shaw and Goodman at Tribeca Pac.  Earlier in the week in Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in the Jazz at Lincoln Center complex the Eddie Daniels/Roger Kellaway Duo held forth for four sold-out sets.

PART I: EDDIE DANIELS/ROGER KELLAWAY 

billed and announced from the stage (first set second nght of two) as a recital of Ellingtonia –it wasn’t– these two virtuosi of their instruments –Kellaway piano; Daniels clarinet– played a whole lot more.  Daniels not only played a beautifully wooded instrument but also a gleaming new tenor on I Want To Be Happy and Night and Day.  in between there were Leonard Bernstein’s Somewhere and two originals, Kellaway’s Duke At Ojai (from the all Ellington CD “Duke At The Roadhouse”) and an excerpt from a Daniels suite Capriccio Twilight.  oh yes, there was also Billy Strayhorn’s Rock Skipping At the Blue Note, their one bow to Maestro Duke.

their performance at Dizzy’s Club was, for me, butter cream peaks on a cake which began the preceding Monday in their Manhattan hotel.  not only were they there together to speak with me, but our mutual friend clarinetist Ron Odrich “sat in.”  our conversation ran from Daniels’ meeting and sitting in with Ellington to Kellaway’s Cello Quartet.  both occasions came together on their aforementioned (out June 2013) CD “Duke At the Roadhouse” (IPO).

Kellaway spoke of those keyboard instruments which are their own recording studios. “i have a Clavinova [with 100s of attachments.]  twenty are useful,” he lamented.  ”the quality is awful.  you push the saxophone button…”  ”wait.  why would you need a saxophone button?,” Eddie interjected good naturedley.

from the Be-Careful-If-You-Get-a-Hit file, i asked Roger about his 1970s vintage “All In The Family” tv closing theme (Remembering You) and what it did for his career.  it has gone internet viral.  the producer Noman Leer is a big jazz fan.  in fact, he owns the Concord Jazz Family.  ”the only thing i had trouble with was telling people [who asked my to play it] was that while i came from a dixieland backgound i’ve moved on,” he replied.  audiences tend to brand you; they want to hear the hit just that way.  it drove Artie Shaw out of the business.  Remembering You was stride piano.  ”it did create millions of people who think that i am a honky-tonk piano player.

“i went to school with [author, cornetist] Dick Sudhalter and we spent time in his basement where his father stored his 78 rpm records.  i still have a copy of Joe Venuti’s Barnacle Bill the Shithead.”  [he sings the title.]  one thing led to another and Roger played Mohangony Hall, with people like Vic Dickenson and others whose names were obscure even to me.  he was playing bass at this time.

Eddie and Roger first played together at the suggestion of Jack Kleinsinger in April 1986 at one of his Highlights In Jazz concerts at New York University (see Part II below).  decades later that relationship culminated with CDs including “Duke At The Roadhouse.”

there is a one degree of separation between Daniels/Kellaway and Ellington.  Kellaway: “i opened for him with my trio in Santa Barbara, Calif.  i heard that he requested me.  i never met him; he never came out of his dressing room.  that was ’72.”

Daniels (see addenda below): Ellington was at a small room in Greenwich Village.  i was encouraged to ‘get up there.’  i did.  what a thrill!

the duo’s Ellington project has played Tempe, Ariz. and they are going to South Africa with the cello quartet.  Eddie suggested the duo plus the cello playing Duke.  some of his influences came from within the Ellington reeds: Barney Bigard, Russell Procope and Jimmy Hamilton, clarinet, Ben Webster and Paul Gonsalves, tenor.

Roger flat out says that his influence at the piano were not from Ellington. “but as a bass player i was listening to Jimmy Blanton [the 1940 so-called Blanton-Webster Ellington Band.]  i’m probably more interested in Ellington’s harmonic textures rather than as a pianist.”  Kellaway went on to say that he wasn’t much interested in other pianists as he was in writing.

Kellaway was reminded of something pianist Lou Levy said about Ellington’s Sophisicated Lady, the bridge to which was written some time after the refrain. “Let’s raise our glasses to those guys who died coming out of the bridge to Sophisticated Lady.”  Odrich chimed in, “i know someone who  starts the tune with the bridge just to get it out of the way.”

about the clarinet Daniels said that “there are younger people today who don’t even know i play the tenor sax.  i’ve been encouraged to play [tenor] more often.”  he did at Dizzy’s.

it was during a solo with the Jones-Lewis band that Daniels first pulled out the clarinet.  he remembers Thad, who did not particularly like the sound of that reed as much as he did the soprano, asked Mel, “Why the fuck did he do that?”  it was for that 32 bar solo that Daniels won the New Star category that year on clarinet.  (“Live At The Village Vanguard.”)

Daniels also plays bass clarinet and flute, “but i want to limit myself to the B Flat instruments [clarinet and soprano].  keeps things simple and still colorful.  what Benny [Goodman] and Artie [Shaw] did with it.  i just want to extend the range of that instrument.”

harking back to the opening gambit of the interview, as we parted Roger rode down to the lobby with me and told me a story of how he and Harold Mabern were on their way to Japan when Roger pulls up to the terminal in a stretch limo because a regular car was not available from the rental compnay. “the look on Harold’s face was, ‘it must be because of that All In The Family thing.’  Harold never got over that.  nor did Charles Lloyd.  ”you are never supposed to go outside the bubble,” Kellaway concluded.

Eddie Daniels (l) & Roger Kellaway @ Dizzy’s Club Coco Cola
photo ©Jim Eigo

Eddie Daniels, ts, Roger Kellaway, p at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola
photo ©Jim Eigo
[Addenda Statements by the Artists: “1966 was a big year for me. I was asked to join the Thad Jones- Mel Lewis orchestra and was thrust onto the American Jazz scene playing at the Village Vanguard every Monday night. There I was, playing with some of my own idols — Pepper Adams, Hank Jones, Bob Brookmeyer, Snooky Young, Roland Hanna, Jerome Richardson — it totally changed my world!
“Towards the spring of that year I was asked to play at a jam session with Duke Ellington. It was a small restaurant-bar in Greenwich Village. I walked in and there was Duke at the piano and people saying to me “Get up there and play Eddie”. There was no rhythm section just the 2 of us. wow! and some other musicians in the wings waiting to get a chance. It was such fun to see Duke turn his head towards me and give me that big smile while I was playing. What an experience. indelible marks that last forever.
“Fast forward 56 years to last October 2012 in Santa Fe New Mexico, those indelible marks having helped carve a career for me that I always will be thankful for, I was asked to perform at a benefit concert by a group called New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding, which helps young people with disabilities while working with horses. The concert was to be held at the Lensic Theater. I immediately decided that the music should be Duke’s and chose Roger Kellaway as my collaborator! Since Roger and I had already recorded 2 albums as a duo for IPO records –’A Duet of One’ and ‘Live at the Library of Congres’– and given the idea of Duke’s music, I thought that adding a cello to our duo would add a richness to the music. Roger, being a cellophile, known for his Cello Quartets albums, jumped on it!

 

“I then suggested to Roger that we each write an original tune dedicated to Duke. Roger’s is called Duke in Ojai and mine being Duke at the Roadhouse, the latter being named after Harry’s Roadhouse in Santa Fe, which bustles with Duke’s musical energy and greatly reminds me of that place in the Village where I had my indelible Duke experience. Also part of our benefit concert was a painting donated by the legendary Native American artist Doug Coffin. The cover of this album ‘Duke At The Roadhouse’ was done by Doug as he listened to the final mixes of this live concert. He truly is part of the band.
“My special thanks to Roger, who is so much fun to play with, Morrie Backun, who made my clarinet, the Lensic Theater, The New Mexico Center for Therapeutic  Riding, Doug Coffin for being part of the interplay, cellist James Holland, and IPO’s Bill Sorin, who records music that he loves and is passionate about. Enjoy!!!”  – ©Eddie Daniels
“Partnering with one of the world’s great clarinetists is challenging. But, after more than 25 years, it’s also musically quite rewarding. For this Santa Fe CD, Eddie suggested adding cello And, because of my passion for the cello [beginning with the A&M recording of 'The Roger Kelllaway Cello Quartet' 42 years ago], I was delighted.
“As with all of my cello writing, everything is written out, even the jazz solos. Therefore it becomes necessary for the cellist to have some knowledge of jazz phrasing in order to have the jazz solos sound like improvisations. James Holland said, ‘yes’ to this challenge. Once again, I’m delighted.”   — ©Roger Kellaway]

 

PART II: THE MUSIC OF SHAW AND GOODMAN

what a contrast!  the Peter and Will Anderson Orchestra included a string section for the Shaw segment.  10 pieces strong –totaling 25!– they mostly dutifully sawed underneath playing the Shaw classics plus a couple of originals in prepared harmonies.  comfort music.  there was one violin cat, though, who would not be contained as he rose from his seat and seemed to strum his ax while the front line filled with major soloists had their say.

among those were Wylciffe Gordon, John Mosca, trombones, Warren Vaché, cornet, Jon- Eric Kelso, Seneca Black, trumpets, plus a rhythm section which featured Howard Alden, guitar and Ehud Asherie, piano.

Shaw added a string quartet to his 1940s band and rarely traveled with them.  the Andersons Ork’s dektet of violins, violas and celli, orignally arranged by Lennie Hayton for Shaw, similarly played fills.  Tommy Dorsey’s full section of the same vintage, arranged by Sy Oliver, traveled in a separate bus just for the “orchestra” and equipment.

the Shaw popular swing classics were augmented by two extended works.  Concerto for Clarinet was from the two-sided 78rpm recording, and Reed Reflections, Movement 1 composed for the Andersons and conducted by its composer Kyle Athayde.  the ambitious work was appreciated by generous applause.

The Peter & Will Anderson Orchestra at Jack Kleinsinger’s Highlights In Jazz  photo ©Jim Eigo

 

Peter &Will Anderson

 

after the interval the Andersons were joined by Gordon, Vaché, Aldon and Asherie plus bass and drums for some BG Octets whch included a take on Mary Lou Williams’ In The Land of Oobla Dee, an usually (for Goodman) bebop-oriented selection from Goodman’s “Undecurrent Blues” LP.  Gordon pulled out his slide trumpet, an increasingly popular, if archaic, instrument, for a duet with Asherie.  nice sound.

The Peter & Will Anderson “Benny Goodman Octet”

 

watch for these multi-talented young men, the Anderson’s, who have five CDs available at this wrtiing.  they play multiple reeds, compose and arrange and best of all they are not afraid to take on new challenges.  the Twins joined vocalist/pianist Daryl Sherman in the Knickerbocker in Greenwich Village for a weekend romp.

speaking of singers, as she ever so gracefully aged, Lena Horne, who sang with Shaw, once quipped that she loved youth for being so good and hated them for being so young!

links of interest:

the Eddie Daniels/Roger Kellaway “Duke At The Roadhouse” CD link:      www.iporecordings.com 

eddiedaniels1006@msn.com

roger@rogerkellaway.com

the Anderson Twins link: www.andersontwinsjazz.com

to reach me: ajjazz9@earthlink.net

text ©arnold jay smith (unless otherwise noted) March 2013

photos ©Jim Eigo February 2013


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