Benny Rides Again

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: GRP
WORKS: Benny Rides Again
PERFORMER: Gary Burton and Eddie Daniels
CATALOGUE NO: 96652

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The shadow of the late Benny Goodman still looms large, primarily because he was such a virtuoso he seemed to exhaust the vocabulary for the clarinet in jazz. Only Artie Shaw in the Thirties and Forties, Buddy DeFranco in the Fifties and Sixties, and currently Eddie Daniels, have had both the imagination and technical facility to expand on Goodman’s vision. Daniels is a stunning musician who has experimented with integrating the clarinet into a variety of contemporary contexts, often using electronic instruments.

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Here he finally confronts the Goodman legacy with fellow virtuoso Gary Burton on vibes, and with an all-star rhythm section they tackle the staples of the Goodman canon. The result is not a recreation but a recasting in a contemporary context. All the musicians concerned have sufficient personality of their own to re-invent the material at hand in their own likeness, witness luminous versions of ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’, ‘Airmail Special’ and ‘Grand Slam’. Stuart Nicholson