Eddie Daniels: Woodwind Virtuoso

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I first heard of Eddie Daniels when I began my woodwind studies with Joe Allard in 1971. Joe recommended that I go to hear Eddie play with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra at the Village Vanguard on a Monday night when he realized my desire to play jazz on clarinet. Hearing that band up close and listening to Eddie play jazz clarinet were life-changing experiences. Subsequently, I heard him featured on tenor sax nightly with the Dick Cavett Show big band on ABC and decided that I wanted to follow that career path-that of a studio musician. When I began studying with him, I soon realized the very high level of musicianship that was required to succeed as a multiple woodwind specialist. It was also clear that Eddie not only possessed a huge talent but also was the most dedicated instrument-practicer I had ever met, obsessed with improving and mastering his instruments. He was very clear and honest as a teacher and had the ability to immediately recognize and solve whatever musical or instrumental problems I was experiencing. The levels of excellence that he performed with on saxophone/clarinet/flute raised the bar for all doublers. When he decided in the 1980s to devote all of his musical energies to clarinet, he again raised the bar for all future generations of jazz clarinetists. His unique talents and quick mind are on display in this video along with the equally brilliant pianist, Lee Musiker. Enjoy the video and check out more about Eddie on his website: eddiedanielsclarinet.net.

About the Artist: From the very beginning of his career, Eddie Daniels has exhibited a musical talent that is undeniably extraordinary. A charter member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra in the 1960s (the most influential big band in the U.S. since the bands of Ellington & Basie), Eddie made a name for himself there as an exciting soloist on tenor saxophone and clarinet. His first solo album, First Prize, was a celebration of his winning the 1966 International Competition for Modern Jazz in Vienna on saxophone. He has since recorded 29 additional albums as a leader on saxophones/clarinets/flutes along with hundreds of recordings as a studio sideman. He has received the plaudits of musicians worldwide and established himself as one of the preeminent jazz clarinetists in history. Eddie has single-handedly resurrected the clarinet as a viable voice in contemporary jazz and influenced generations of clarinet players. Much like Benny Goodman, he has displayed a love for playing the staples of the classical clarinet literature and has had numerous composers write works for him with orchestra and/or chamber ensembles. Having studied with some of the greatest and most influential woodwind minds of the 20th Century—Joe Allard, Vincent, Abato, Daniel Bonade, Bernard Portnoy, Harold Bennett and Tom Nyfenger—Eddie reflects their sense of musicianship with a virtuosity of his own that is staggering. A multiple Grammy Award recipient, the International Clarinet Association awarded Eddie its highest honor in July 2017 for lifetime achievement.


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