Don't Be That Way
Mack Avenue Records
Dave Bennett, in the photos accompanying Don’t Be That Way, looks, with his wire-rim glasses, fair features and slicked-back hair, much like a young Benny Goodman. He plays the clarinet and his repertoire here includes the Goodman title track and other warhorses by, or associated with, the likes of Cole Porter and Woody Herman. That Bennett owes an allegiance to those artists’ era is undeniable, but he’s not bound by it. His “Sing, Sing, Sing” heads into experimental places Goodman never could have imagined, notably a section of contemplative, at times near-silent, solo clarinet, and his “Begin the Beguine” puts a funky undercoat to the moldy oldie, propelled by Reg Schwager’s swinging guitar. Bennett can’t give the Beatles’ “Yesterday” or the done-to-death “When the Saints Go Marching In” anything they haven’t already experienced, but “Woodchopper’s Ball” hasn’t boogied this hard since rockers Ten Years After got hold of it in the ’60s.