1. Slipped Disc
2. Begin The Beguine
3. Don't Be That Way
4. Running Wild
5. St. James Infirmary
7. Sing, Sing, Sing
8. Woodchopper's Ball
9. My Inspiration
11. A Funeral In New Orleans
12. When The Saints Go Marching In
Dave Bennett - Clarinet, vocals
Tad Weed – Piano
Paul Keller – Bass
Pete Siers – Drums
Reg Schwager - Electric guitar, acoustic guitars
When I saw the title of this album and its set-list,
I feared it was going to be a cheesy “tribute” to Benny Goodman and
other famous clarinettists. Thankfully I was wrong. The repertoire
certainly includes many tunes associated with Benny Goodman and other
reedmen like Woody Herman, but Dave Bennett brings a fresh approach
to most of them.
For example, take the opening Slipped Disc, a piece associated with and written by Goodman. Here it opens unexpectedly with a squeaky
introduction, and there is a strange passage after the theme statement and before Tad Weed’s swinging piano solo. Dave Bennett’s clarinet tone here is more
abrasive than Goodman’s. I presume that most of the unusual aspects of the number were supplied by Shelly Berger, who is credited with writing the
Yet Bennett must have had a hand in the arranging, as he confesses to devising the voicings in St. James Infirmary, which add extra eeriness to
the song. Dave also adds vocals to the piece, although he doesn’t seem to use the normal lyrics. The title-track has a hint of a bossa nova beat, while Running Wild is taken at a streaking tempo which displays the virtuosity of Bennett’s group.
Not every tune is from the swing-era songbook. The Beatles’ Yesterday is interpreted in thoughtful style, with occasional rhythmic surprises.
Bennett’s intonation is a little shaky on this one. A Funeral In New Orleans is an original by Shelly Berger with a plaintive mood.
Sing, Sing, Sing betrays some lack of co-ordination but the clarinettist and drummer make it an impressive eleven-minute workout. The CD ends with When The Saints Go Marching In, which has an appropriately New Orleans feeling.