Eddie Daniels (born October 19, 1941) is an American musician and composer. Although he is best known as a jazz clarinetist, he has also played saxophone and flute as well as classical music on clarinet.
Daniels was born in New York City to a Jewish family. His mother emigrated from Romania. He was raised in the Manhattan Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City.
He became interested in jazz as a teenager when he was impressed by the musicians accompanying singers, such as Frank Sinatra, on recordings. Daniels’ first instrument was the alto saxophone. At the age of 13 he was also playing clarinet, and by the age of 15 he had played at the Newport Jazz Festival youth competition.
Daniels has toured and recorded with a variety of bands, small groups and orchestras, and appeared on television many times. He has played with Bucky Pizzarelli, Freddie Hubbard, Billy Joel, Don Patterson, and Richard Davis. DownBeat gave Daniels the New Star on Clarinet Award in 1968.
He was a member for six years of The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, playing tenor saxophone, clarinet and flute. On the album “Presenting Joe Williams and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra”, his solo on “Evil Man Blues” was mistakenly credited to his colleague Joe Farrell.
Since the 1980s, he has focused mainly on the clarinet. In 1989, he won a Grammy Award for his contribution to the Roger Kellaway arrangement of “Memos from Paradise”.
He worked with Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, on the album Swingin’ for the Fences, the first album by the band. He was featured in Goodwin’s arrangement of Mozart’s 40th symphony in G minor on XXL and on the Big Phat Band’s album The Phat Pack.
In 2009, Swiss composer and saxophonist Daniel Schnyder composed MATRIX 21, a Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, for Daniels and dedicated it to him. It was commissioned by the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne (Switzerland) and world-premiered in Lausanne under its artistic director Christian Zacharias in January 2010. The American premiere took place at the Crested Butte Music Festival on July 18, 2010, under the direction of music director Jens Georg Bachmann.