3

Dave Bennett: Don't Be That Way

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Bennett: Don't Be That Way Clarinetist Dave Bennett's Don't Be That Way is a throwback album, but it's not a carbon copy of what's come before. Bennett certainly finds inspiration in the work of past masters, driving down the highways and byways that have been paved by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman and others, but he's willing to look at their music with a fresh set of eyes; he's a centrist, but not a complete traditionalist. He'll occasionally throw a curve ball on a well-known tune, as demonstrated on the Brazilian-coated title track, but the ball always goes back over the plate in the end, locking in to some form of widely established and accepted practice.

Goodman, more than any other figure, is the influence that hovers over this date. Bennett delights in interpreting several key pieces from Goodman's repertoire, from the immortal "Sing, Sing, Sing" to the bleak-and-beautiful "Goodbye" to the fun-filled "Slipped Disc," and he even resembles the King Of Swing, with a serious bespectacled face and firmly parted hair. The similarities stop there though, as Bennett's tone and timbre bear little resemblance to Goodman's clarion call clarinet sound. Bennett has a more soothing-and-streamlined sound—not the same as, but in the realm of Ken Peplowski and Eddie Daniels—and it charms the ear throughout.

While it would be a lie to say that the album is filled with surprises, a few pop up along the way; the inclusion of a Beatles classic ("Yesterday") amidst the older fare is one and the clarinet supplanting the drums on the "Sing, Sing, Sing" solo break is another. Elsewhere, things are often predictable but pleasing. A rollicking "Woodchopper's Ball" makes for a good time, as does the oft-covered, album-ending "When The Saints Go Marching In." The only misstep here is "Saint James Infirmary." Bennett's vocals don't measure up and the song feels a tad stiff, but that's simply the Achilles heel on an otherwise healthy-and-strong body of material.

Bennett is the undisputed star of his own show, but his band mates deserve a bit of praise for their work; they're attuned to his attitudes about this music and they do an excellent job in helping him shape these performances. Guitarist Reg Schwager proves to be a great front line partner, moving in tandem with Bennett on some fast-and-tricky passages, and bassist Paul Keller and drummer Pete Siers are sensitive to all of the nuances that live within this music. Pianist Tad Weed, more than any side man here, establishes himself as a player to watch and a force to be reckoned with. The depth and breadth of his work is astounding and Bennett's clarinet playing rests on his pianistic shoulders. The sixth man—arranger Shelly Berger—also deserves a nod, as his pen defines the overall shape of this music. Together, this crew makes wonderful music that recalls the past but lives in the present.

Track Listing: Slipped Disc; Begin The Beguine; Don't Be That Way; Running Wild; St. James Infirmary; Yesterday; Sing, Sing, Sing; Woodchopper's Ball; My Inspiration; Goodbye; A Funeral In New Orleans; When The Saints Go Marching In.

Personnel: Dave Bennett: clarinet, vocals; Tad Weed: piano; Paul Keller: bass; Pete Siers: drums; Reg Schwager: acoustic guitar, electric guitar; Shelly Berger: arrangements.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Rekihndled" CD/LP/Track Review Rekihndled
by Doug Collette
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "88" CD/LP/Track Review 88
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 6, 2017
Read "Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth" CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth
by Doug Collette
Published: August 15, 2016
Read "El Viaje" CD/LP/Track Review El Viaje
by James Nadal
Published: September 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!