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Clarinetist Dave Bennett Featured This Week on Riverwalk Jazz

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This week on Riverwalk Jazz, youthful clarinetist Dave Bennett joins The Jim Cullum Jr. Jazz Band to sample music from the long career of his main inspiration, Benny Goodman. With clarinetist Ron Hockett, Dave explores classics of “chamber jazz" that Goodman recorded with his small groups—"Avalon," “Runnin' Wild," “I Got Rhythm," and “Tiger Rag." Dave is one of the top artists in a new generation of musicians passionate about early jazz forms.

The program is distributed in the US by Public Radio International, on Sirius/XM sattelite radio and can be streamed on- demand from the Riverwalk Jazz website.

Bennett developed a fascination with the music of Benny Goodman when he was in grade school. He learned very quickly and started touring nationally a few years later. He describes the “by ear" method through which he acquired the jazz language: “I used to get up two hours before school and memorize Benny Goodman tunes. We had an entertainment center with a CD player on the bottom, practically on the floor. I learned how to start and stop the CD player with my toes. I'd play a few seconds, stop the CD and memorize the bit I'd just heard. I'd do that over and over and memorize the music a few seconds at a time. That's how I learned to play clarinet."

Bennett's versions of “Moonglow" and “Poor Butterfly" demonstrate the sweeter side of Goodman, and the entire Jim Cullum Jazz Band jams on the romping blues riff tune, “Benny's Bugle."

Another highlight of the program is the historic1929 Red Nichols recording of “Back Home Again in Indiana," which includes one of Goodman's first recorded solos. As Jim Cullum notes, “It's a striking chorus. Goodman has a little dirt in his tone, a hot quality. It's different than his later stuff, but still clearly Goodman." Cullum remembers trumpet legend Yank Lawson spinning this early Goodman solo over and over. Yank told Jim, “That 1929 record with Red Nichols is the best thing Goodman ever recorded!"

A recent college graduate, Dave Bennett stays busy performing at festivals, on jazz cruises, and in concert halls around the country.

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