Claire Daly: Baritone Monk


Claire Daly: Baritone Monk is presented by North Coast Brewing.
Claire will also be at the North Coast Brewing Jazz Education Pavilion on the midway at select times all weekend.

Claire Daly will tell you that her life changed on Sept. 23rd, 1971, when as a very (very) young girl, having playing saxophone for only a few months, she heard a big band concert at the Westchester County Center.

It was not the sort of concert the average pre-teenager was likely to attend in 1971: Nostalgia was the theme, and the lineup included Vaughn Monroe and the Tommy Dorsey ghost band. Nonetheless, young Claire was enraptured by Buddy Rich's big band, which ignored nostalgia and played burning jazz versions of tunes like "Norwegian Wood" that had her "standing on my seat, screaming."

After dragging her father to the stage door for autographs afterwards, she said of the Buddy Rich Band bus, "I'd do anything to be on that bus." It was the kind of epiphany that only young enthusiasm can breed, but enthusiasm is still the motivating force in her musical life.

Nine years later, after attending the Berklee College of Music, she began an education of another kind--making a living as a musician. Her career has included anchoring the sax section in the Diva Big Band for seven years; freelancing in New York doing every imaginable kind of gig (available on request!); recording five CDs with the brilliant, quirky composer/pianist Joel Forrester and their band People Like Us; as well as two CDs as leader on Koch Jazz, Swing Low and Movin' On, now re-released on Dalybread Records) and a release of her own, Heaven Help Us All (Dalybread Records). She has performed on numerous CDs, film scores, jingles, and of course in many festivals and venues.

In the fall of 2005, Claire began a new long-term project, touring the country playing gigs and tracking down some of the hidden treasures of the jazz world, interviewing them on video, planning an eventual documentary. In October 2005, the William Jefferson Clinton Library in Little Rock, Ark. requested a copy of her first CD, Swing Low to be included in a listening station as a CD significant to the former president while in office.

Six-time winner of the Downbeat Critic's Poll for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition and winner of the 2005 Jazz Journalist Association Baritone Sax of the Year category, Claire travels worldwide, performing as a bandleader and sideperson.

She is working on a composition based on the life of her second cousin, Mary (Toppy) Joyce. Joyce was the first non-Alaskan to travel 1,000 miles from Fairbanks in 1936 by solo dogsled.  Her story is a great American tale. Claire is currently planning a multi-media event in honor of Toppy's life.

About Baritone Monk

Released by North Coast Brewing in October of 2012, Baritone Monk features the Claire Daly Quartet, with Claire Daly on baritone saxophone, flute, and vocals; Steve Hudson on piano; Peter Grant on drums; and Mary Ann McSweeney on bass.

Produced by North Coast Brewing's Doug Moody, the project was entirely underwritten by North Coast Brewing. 100% of sales proceeds from the CD are donated to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to further international Jazz education programs.

This is the second benefit recording of Thelonious Monk music produced by North Coast Brewing. To listen to clips from the first recording, The Brother Thelonious Quintet, click here.

"Claire Daly's marvelous tribute to Monk's music reminds us of that special affinity, of Monk's penchant for the lower frequencies and the big, full sound he expected from his ensemble. Monk's music is notoriously difficult, though you wouldn't know it from this recording. Daly's superb quartet combines a mastery of Monk's less-recorded repertoire with the casual joy of a jam session. Pianist Steve Hudson avoids Monkish cliches, displaying his own unique style to great effect. Bassist Mary Ann McSweeney plays with a profound sense of melody, swing, and harmonic imagination, and unlike so many young bass players she is not afraid to explore the instrument's lower register. Peter Grant, a long-time Daly collaborator, gives the band its driving pulse but with a subtlety that allows all voices to be heard. Finally, there is Claire Daly, whose breadth of styles, enormous tone, and distinctive phrasing place her among the very best of contemporary baritone players." –from the liner notes by Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (2009)

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