Since leaving the big band Diva and striking out on her own, baritone saxophonist Claire Daly has proved to be a terrific leader in her own right. Her ability to coax a consistently lyrical sound out of her somewhat ungainly instrument combined with her ability to put together a tight small group and a wide-ranging program are all factors that make this a very enjoyable session. The songs all center around the end of relationships, whether due to death, departure, or encouraging someone to leave. Although "After You're Gone" eventually picks up to the brisk tempo at which its normally played, Daly has fun playing around with the theme at a more relaxed pace, as if celebrating a pending breakup with some glee before calling it quits. "If Ever I Would Leave You" is so often played at maudlin tempos that Daly's brisk arrangement is a welcome departure, beautifully seasoned by the soft muted trumpet of guest James Zollar. In addition to the many other fine standards heard here, her emotional treatment of "Goodbye Porkpie Hat," a foot-patting interpretation of Billy Taylor's "A Bientot," and a playful run through Joel Forrestor's "Birdie Bye" add to the luster of this gem of a CD. Daly makes her recorded debut as a singer with very effective vocals on Charlie Chaplin's bittersweet "Smile" and a heartfelt take of Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time." The outstanding rhythm section of pianist Eli Yamin, bassist Dave Hofstra, and drummer Peter Grant provides the perfect chemistry for this very talented baritone saxophonist's well-crafted studio date.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden