Daniel McBrearty — Clarinet Swing – Dan McB Music, 45:01 [4/10/12] ***:
(Daniel McBrearty – clarinet, vocal on 8; Dirk Van der Linden – piano; Jean Van Lint – bass on 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9)
Daniel McBrearty is basically a self-taught musician whose method of educating himself was through records and music lessons. He developed a love for jazz music early and worked with it. His music experience took him through influences to learn guitar and saxophone as well. Daniel was born in Wales, in the U.K. When very young he lived with foster parents for awhile who listened to jazz. He was reunited and lived with his father later in Wales. Daniel’s interest in jazz and the clarinet seems to stem from receiving an old Benny Goodman record which had a heavy influence on him in his teens when others his age were engaged in pop music. His father had an LP collection containing the greats such as Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and others of that time. He took up the tenor saxophone . He later discovered a music shop run by a man who was a marine musician. He progressed there in learning guitar chords taught him by the shop owner that helped with his learning about improvisation. Daniel moved from Wales continuing with his musical education lessons. He was getting some music gigs and learned to be a backup player for vocalists. He was a street musician for awhile playing his instruments and made his own music backup tapes to accompany him. Daniel lived in Dublin, Ireland for about a year.
He married and moved with his wife to her home in Antwerp, Belgium. He progressed through the years in his music until by 2010 he was a fulltime musician. Daniel moved away from jazz, playing pop music in his career but never lost his love for jazz. A visit to New Orleans in 2011 sparked Daniel to get back into jazz. He was well received there on his visit. Inspired by the intimate club settings and experiences in The Big Easy, Daniel returned to Antwerp and searched out musicians to assist him working on this project, Clarinet Swing released in 2012.
Clarinet Swing is an album of nine songs. It consists of three McBrearty compositions and six covers of older favorite standards by the likes of Ray Hubbell, Fats Waller, Hammerstein & Romberg, and Hoagy Carmichael. The album sort of takes me back to the later ‘40s of listening to the music on radio as a child on into the ‘50s before TV became popular.
The opening song, “Poor Butterfly” written in 1916 by Ray Hubbell is still as beautiful in this day as it was at it’s inception and performed as a duo with Daniel on clarinet and Dirk Van der Linden on piano.
“March of the Bluestones”, a Daniel original is a medium-paced bluesy tune that has a pleasant swing sound. Daniel advises in the liner notes of being inspired by his father’s love of jazz and art. Bluestones were used in part of the construction of Stonehenge in England.
“Vikanda” is a slow rolling blues composition of Daniels dedicated to a friend who passed away. I can feel the influence of Benny Goodman on Daniel when he played slow and on the lower register of the clarinet. The piano line was supportive and time was given to Jean Van Lint to step up front and walk his bass.
“A Swing for Paolo”, a McBrearty original, was very enjoyable and lyrical. Daniel of course takes the lead and swings on his clarinet backed by piano and bass and was my favorite of the album.
I believe in Clarinet Swing Daniel McBrearty has accomplished his goal of the “chamber jazz” sound with some great swing music based around the clarinet. The influences of various artists are heard in his style. The recording is good and there is included in the album some good liner notes on what Daniel was trying to accomplish with each tune including also photos of the trio.
1. Poor Butterfly; 2. March of the Bluestones; 3. Jitterbug Waltz; 4. Vikanda; 5. A Swing for Paolo; 6. Body and Soul; 7. Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend; 8. When I grow Too Old to Dream; 9. Skylark
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