In his first appearance as a bandleader in New York in more than a decade, Santa Fe-based saxophonist and clarinetist Daniels played a four-day residence at The Iridium Jazz club, a well-known jazz spot best recognized for its regular Monday-night sessions with nonagenarian guitarist Les Paul. This two-disc package contains the essence of what went down during those nights, featuring many original tunes and a handful of re-readings of compositions by the likes of Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and pianist Roger Kellaway. In one of the most notable moments, Daniels leads the way with Ellington's "Warm Valley," a slow tune that showcases his chops and those of pianist Tom Rainer, who provided the perfect backdrop for the saxophonist's improvisations. The West Coast-based band takes chances with the Coltrane-inspired arrangement for Porter's "Night and Day," preferring to play it more up-tempo instead of relying on the original romantic beat preferred by the countless vocalists who have committed it to disc. Both vibist Joe Locke and Rainer show incredible speed during their solos, and when it comes time for drum great Joe La Barbera to do his thing, he plays with great dexterity, flawlessly exchanging riffs with the other band members. Also worth checking out is the opening track on the first CD, Rodgers and Hart's "Falling in Love with Love Again," which showcases the individual talents of each of the musicians, especially Locke, who tears through the tune with incredible gusto and energy.
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