Eddie Daniels – First Prize

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First Prize! is an album by saxophonist/clarinetist Eddie Daniels recorded in 1966 and released on the Prestige label the following year.

For many jazz listeners, Eddie Daniels popped up in the late 1980´s as a star clarinetist. But by then he had been a journeyman artist for two decades. First Prize was made in 1966 when Daniels was a tenor saxophonist and occasional clarinetist in the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis big band, shortly after he had won top honors in Vienna International Jazz Competition. For his debut as a leader, he hired one of his bosses, Lewis, and the orchestra´s bassist and pianist, Richard Davis and Roland Hanna. Daniela´s originality on clarinet and his command on the instrument made it easy to predict that he would help to reestablish the horn jazz.

Allmusic awarded the album 4½ stars with Scott Yanow stating “When one hears this early Eddie Daniels set, it is surprising to realize that he would remain in relative obscurity for almost another 20 years. As shown on the three of the eight selections on which he plays clarinet, Daniels even at this early stage ranked near the top, while his tenor playing on the remaining numbers was already personal and virtuosic”.

Track listing:
All compositions by Eddie Daniels except where noted

“Felicidade” (Antônio Carlos Jobim, Vinícius de Moraes) – 9:48
“That Waltz” – 6:56
“Falling in Love with Love” (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) – 4:40
“Love’s Long Journey” – 2:05
“Time Marches On” – 4:05
“The Spanish Flea” (Julius Wechter) – 4:50
“The Rocker” – 3:37
“How Deep Is the Ocean?” (Irving Berlin) – 10:41

Eddie Daniels – tenor saxophone, clarinet
Roland Hanna – piano
Richard Davis – bass
Mel Lewis – drums


Released: 1967
Recorded: September 8 & 12, 1966
Studio: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Length: 46:42
Label: Prestige
PR/PRST 7506
Producer: Cal Lampley