Jelly Roll Morton once said, “Good music never gets old." Proving the point, Riverwalk Jazz presents clarinetist Dave Bennett, one of the top artists in a new generation of musicians with a passion for early jazz forms.
Bennett developed a fascination with the music of Benny Goodman when he was in grade school, 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."
Performance Video - The Jim Cullum Jazz Band with Dave Bennett
Dave Bennett joins The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and samples music from the long career of his main inspiration, Benny Goodman. With
clarinetist Ron Hockett, Dave explores classic tunes from the 'chamber jazz' Goodman recorded with his small groups—"Avalon," "Runnin' Wild," "I Got Rhythm," and "Tiger Rag."
"Moonglow" and "Poor Butterfly" demonstrate the sweeter side of Goodman, and the entire Jim Cullum Jazz Band gets off on the romping blues riff tune, "Benny's Bugle."
Another highlight of the program is a playback of the historical 1929 Red Nichols' recording of "Back Home Again in Indiana," which includes one of Benny 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 family friend, trumpet legend Yank Lawson playing 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 when he's not performing at Riverwalk Jazz, by performing at festivals, on jazz cruises, and in concert halls around the country.
Photo credit for home page teaser image:
Clarinetist Dave Bennett with bandleader Jim Cullum, 2007. Photo Riverwalk Jazz
Text based on script by Margaret Pick ©2011