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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Don't Be That Way

Mack Avenue MAC 1071



1. Slipped Disc

2. Begin The Beguine

3. Don't Be That Way

4. Running Wild

5. St. James Infirmary

6. Yesterday

7. Sing, Sing, Sing

8. Woodchopper's Ball

9. My Inspiration

10. Goodbye

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 arrangements.

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.

Tony Augarde

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