Michigan clarinetist DAVE BENNETT, is an
authentic musical prodigy (totally self-taught)
who brings to life the classic sound and music of BENNY GOODMAN (1909-1986) with incredible
technique, style, beauty of tone and naturalness.
Truly a “young phenom,” Dave resides in
Waterford, Michigan, (born May 18, 1984 in
Pontiac, MI) and began playing at age 10 on a
clarinet given to him by his grandparents. He
then taught himself how to play Goodman songs
by ear, listening to a tape given to him by his
grandfather. Dave had his first "feature
appearance" playing Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen
at his 5th grade band concert. At age 12 Dave
was invited to the bandstand of the famous
Sweet Basil jazz club in New York to sit in with
the trumpet great Doc Cheatham.
Dave started as a “road warrior” early: he was
14 when he began traveling all over the US with
several Michigan-based Dixie bands on the
“trad jazz” festival circuit. At 17 Bennett was selected as one of two high school students from a field of 600, to have
the opportunity to perform as a special guest soloist with The Count Basie Orchestra.
Dave Bennett began touring his Tribute to Benny Goodman combo in 2005 and has now performed in
over thirty-five US States and Canada and has appeared with thirty orchestras for “pops” shows. Dave
makes his Carnegie Hall debut on Nov. 1 2013, featured with The New York Pops, Steve Reineke, conducting.
Many Goodman hits are in the program: Moonglow, I Got Rhythm, Sing Sing Sing, Airmail Special,
Poor Butterfly, Let’s Dance and other classics. Bennett's mature stage presence, knowledge of
the dates and details of Goodman recordings, and his penchant for wire-rim glasses, spats and classic
suits, transport listeners back to the time and mood of Benny Goodman's “swing era”.
Bennett has made a great impression on several of Benny Goodman’s famous band members: vibraphonist
Peter Appleyard, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and pianist Dick Hyman all strongly endorse Dave Bennett
as “the closest ever” to Goodman’s sound and style. He has performed with them in the US and Canada
and recorded with them as “special guests” on Dave’s two recent Arbors CDs.
Dave was featured on two NPR network radio programs with The Jim Cullum Jazz Band on Jazz
at Riverwalk broadcast in Dec. 2007. In April 2008 Dave made his European debut at The Bern
International Jazz Festival, Switzerland.
Perhaps surprising some of his “swing clarinet” fans, Dave is also an extremely good “rock-a-billy”
performer. He is gaining increasing fame for his work playing boogie-woogie piano in a style of his
hero Jerry Lee Lewis, vocals that have a strong tinge of Elvis and playing his “rocking” Gretsch
electric guitar, inspired by another hero: Brian Setzer. Dave has just recorded with The Memphis Speed Kings
following their Sacramento Music Festival debut in 2012. Their CD has lots of early ‘50s classic rock
and roll that came out of the Sun Records Studio.
Dave has an added fan base when he performs for the young “swing dance” crowds at competitions around the
country. He’s got lots of fans: tall, good-looking and smooth on the mic.
Now his career is ratcheting up a notch, as he will be the featured soloist in a Nov. 1 Benny Goodman tribute,
"Sing Sing Swing" announced for Carnegie Hall, with the New York Pops.
At age 29, Dave’s clarinet playing now reflects a mature personal style that evokes a fortuitous and unique
blending of the sounds inspired by his two idols: Benny Goodman and Pete Fountain. In the hands of this young phenomenon,
the clarinet just might have its next chance at popularity. Only time will tell where Dave Bennett's
remarkable and unique musical gifts will take him.
Note: Dave Bennett can be heard on Arbors Records:
- Dave Bennett Celebrates 100 Years of Benny
- Dave Bennett Clarinet is King: "Songs of the Great Clarinetists”
Dave’s debut on Detroit’s Mack Avenue Records will be released October 15, 2013.
“Dave Bennett is one of the finest performers I have had the pleasure of working with. There is no doubt
he is one of the greatest clarinetists of our time.”
ANDREW LANE: Principal Pops Conductor, Orlando Philharmonic; Pops Conductor, Sarasota Orchestra
"Audiences completely blown away…a remarkable talent of genius proportions . . . wonderfully engaging charts"
THOMAS WILKINS; Music Director, Omaha Symphony; Resident Conductor, Detroit Symphony; Principal Guest Conductor, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra