It Had to Be You

Former Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra tenor saxophonist Eddie Daniels, who has been carving out a successful career for himself in both jazz and classical music since the 1960s, here offers an intimate, chamber music approach to his jazz side: a quartet balancing his sax and clarinet playing with the standard back up of piano, bass, and drums. His sidemen—Hank Jones, Richard Davis, and Kenny Washington—are all standard bearers of their instruments in the jazz community, and all 12 titles on the album are, well, standards. But Daniels’s approach is anything but. I thought I heard everything anyone could ever come up with for “It Had to Be You,” the 1924 song by Gus Kahn and Isham Jones. But Daniels’s probing clarinet solo on it here—a sometimes angular though always inevitable-sounding melodic cascade—reveals all sorts of possibilities lurking within its all-too-familiar tune and chord changes.

–FJO