Saturday, August 31, 2013

Eddie Daniels Reissues Needed

The September DownBeat features a brief, though refreshingly honest interview with Eddie Daniels and Roger Kellaway, conducted by Josef Woodard. Ostensibly promoting their forthcoming duo album, it's also worth anyone's read who might be interested in the current difficulties facing professional jazz musicians.

Of particular concern to jazz clarinet history was a question regarding Eddie's work for GRP:

Eddie, your body of work on GRP was really varied, and each album seemed to head in a different fresh direction.
ED: Yeah, and it was great having Dave [Grusin] and Larry [Rosen] let me do a lot of different things. I did about seven or eight albums for GRP. Of course, you can't get any of them, and I can't get the rights to any of them. It would be nice to just reissue them.
Eddie Daniels's seven jazz clarinet albums for GRP were a watershed in the history of the instrument, breaking ground in everything from jazz/classical fusion and bebop, to chamber jazz and jazz/pop fusion. Copies of these albums are getting more difficult to find. For those interested in getting any of them, below are the titles, linked to Amazon:

To Bird, with Love
Memos from Paradise
This is Now
Benny Rides Again
It's both saddening and difficult to believe that an album as musically satisfying and technically jaw-dropping as Breakthrough is out of print, or that players today can't get easy access to a brilliant and unique piece like Memos from Paradise. For anyone who has heard it, This Is Now remains one of the definitive bop albums from a clarinetist, while albums such as Blackwood and Nepenthe demonstrate the viability of the clarinet in the arena of smooth jazz and pop-fusion.

As with so many masterpieces of jazz clarinet history, the greatest obstacle to recognition is availability of recordings to the public. Reissues are desperately needed.  

Special note to Josef Woodard: you get The Jazz Clarinet's Five Good Reeds just for bringing up this subject!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pete Fountain for DownBeat Hall of Fame

A little over a year ago, The Jazz Clarinet began a campaign to get Pete Fountain elected to the DownBeat Hall of Fame. At the time, Pete was so overlooked that his name wasn't even on the ballot.

Thanks to many readers of this blog, and the many write-in votes generated last year, a great jazz clarinetist is no longer relegated to write-in status: this year's DB ballot includes Pete Fountain.

Those interested in exploring the importance of Pete's work are encouraged to search The Jazz Clarinet--there are several posts that will help the uninitiated gain a better appreciation.

Those who already know of Pete Fountain's artistry can head to the DownBeat page and vote!

Now if we could only get some of his classic LPs released again...