Dave Bennett doesn’t fit the mold.
For starters, you don’t find many jazz clarinet players who name Alice Cooper, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Chris Isaak among their influences. You won’t find many musicians who are equally conversant with the music of Benny Goodman (the “King of Swing”) and Roy Orbison (“The Soul of Rock and Roll”). In fact, you may not find even one other clarinet virtuoso who breaks from his Swing Era repertoire to sing rockabilly hits while accompanying himself at the piano or electric guitar.
In the early days of jazz, the clarinet joined with trumpet and trombone to create the music’s signature sound, and it ruled the roost in the Swing Era, when jazz was America’s popular music and dance- party soundtrack. If anyone can return the clarinet to its heyday, it’s Dave Bennett, who fuses serious jazz improvisation with a host of modern pop influences.
Dave began his national touring career at the age of 14. He has been a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops (2013) and has been featured with 35 other US and Canadian orchestras including Nashville, Detroit, Rochester, Omaha, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Orlando, San Antonio, Jacksonville, Portland, OR and Portland, ME. Some of his annual appearances include The Elkhart Jazz Festival, The Suncoast Classic Jazz Festival, The Arizona Classic Jazz Festival, The Sacramento Hot Jazz Jubilee, The Clambake Music Festival, and The Redwood Coast Music Festival.
Dave has been featured on NPR Radio’s “Jazz at Riverwalk.” He made his European debut in 2008 at The Bern Jazz Festival (Switzerland) in a combo with jazz legends and Benny Goodman band alumni guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and vibraphonist, the late Peter Appleyard.
In March 2022, Dave and his band performed to a sold-out audience at New York City’s Birdland Theater.
Dave is a Mack Avenue Records artist. His 2013 CD “Don’t Be That Way” met with critical acclaim. His second release, Blood Moon, which features five originals and six pop/jazz covers, reached No 24 on the Billboard Jazz charts in 2018.
During the isolation of the pandemic, fate steered Dave’s time off the road into a bold new direction. He put his guitar pedal to the metal and stepped away from his beloved clarinet. A songwriter stepped forward. Road songs, reverb-laded guitar solos that could power a surf documentary, and memories of loves and lives lost are the mile markers that makeup his latest release “Nowhere Fast”. His first full-length rock album is a deep, soul-searching joyride through the back streets of his mind.
Leave it to Dave Bennett to prove that sometimes the best way to move forward is to go back to the beginnings of what drives you.