Eddie Daniels Quartet with The Harlem String Quartet
A note from the producer, George Klabin:
The music on this recording was written in the 1970s and 1980s and originally released in Brasil on LP. Since the very ﬁrst time I heard them, these magniﬁcent and diverse musical creations settled in a special place in my heart, as deeply transportive experiences.
For a long time I wanted to produce a tribute to this extraordinary musical genius, but could not ﬁnd anyone who wanted to take on arranging these complex masterpieces. They said it was like trying to repaint a Picasso!
Finally, in 2016 while speaking to my old friend clarinetist Eddie Daniels about Brazilian music, I mentioned a brilliant composer who was born in Carmo, a very beautiful small town in the state of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. I explained that his works were not at all like typical Brazilian music of the ’70s such as samba or bossa nova, but rather defy simple characterization. This composer joined elements from folklore, classical, contemporary and world music with stunning virtuosity and melodic invention. Eddie was curious, so I sent him numerous examples. He was deeply moved and stunned by the beauty and power, and said he would love to record this. So, after many years, I had ﬁnally found my lead artist for this project. Eddie suggested Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Ted Nash for arrangements, and also the concept of using The Harlem String Quartet.
We eventually settled on the instrumentation of Eddie on clarinet and tenor sax, piano, bass, drums, and string quartet. For arrangers, I chose Nash; as well as my good friend and regular collaborator, German arranger Kuno Schmid; and pianist Josh Nelson. We chose twelve originals by Gismonti, and Eddie also wrote a new tune, “Tango Nova,” arranged by Mike Patterson.
Next, I assigned the pieces among the arrangers and asked them to preserve Gismonti’s unique and cinematic musical “paintings,” explaining my vision to treat each composition as one would a classical piece, respecting and retaining the original treatments, melodies, moods, and intent, while adding or expanding jazz improvisation sections as vehicles for the brilliant players such as Eddie and pianist Josh Nelson. I also wanted to weave The Harlem String Quartet in and out so I told the arrangers to handle them as a unit to not only provide backgrounds, but at times play solo sections. Finally, I chose Brazilian drummer/percussionist Mauricio Zottarelli as the unifying rhythmic “voice.” His passion, incredible techni-cal ability, and innate understanding of each style made him so easy to work with that I could trust his choices on every song.
I could not be happier with the ﬁnal result. Apparently Egberto Gismonti agrees as shown by his comments. As I look back on this project I am honored to have collaborated with all these special musicians to create this tribute to one of the world’s great musical geniuses.
And of supreme importance, this project would never have been realized without Eddie Daniels’ presence, his musical brilliance, and total mastery of his instruments. I consider him without question the greatest living jazz clarinetist and it was an honor to collaborate with him.