Concert goers were treated to a stunning performance Thursday evening, May 3rd in Hayes Hall at the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts. Dave Bennett’s Clarinet Swing Kings wowed the audience with a fast paced, brilliant performance from the opening number, Nightmare, made famous by Artie Shaw, to the concluding rendition of Sing, Sing, Sing, a mainstay of the late, great Benny Goodman.
Dave Bennett is described as an “authentic musical prodigy.” His amazing talent on the clarinet recalls the style and technique of Benny Goodman. Bennett taught himself how to play in the Goodman style listening to a tape of Goodman’s music given to him by his grandfather when he was a child.
Bennett’s group of five musicians has been playing together since 2010 and all have extensive backgrounds with jazz and swing groups around the country, in Canada and Europe. Andrew Lane conducted the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and the Clarinet Swing Kings blending the richness of the full orchestral sound with the uniquestyle of Bennett and his musical partners.
Paul Keller, bassist and arranger for the Bennett group has conducted his own orchestra for more than 20 years with weekly performances in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has performed with Diana Krall and a number of noted jazz artists. He did all the arrangements for the evening’s program.
Peter Stiers, also from Michigan, made the drums sing with rhythm and style. His magical performance enhanced every selection, particularly, Tangerine, New Orleans Medley and St. James Infirmary Blues. Stiers and Bennett partnered on the drums to positively wring every note from Sing, Sing, Sing bringing the audience to its feet in one of three standing ovations.
Hugh Leal, on rhythm guitar, has a long career in jazz, promoting, recording and producing some 30 albums. He has been recognized for helping to restore “some of the work of the last surviving 1920s and ‘30s jazzmen, including the great Doc Cheatham’s first feature album as a singer/trumpeter.”
Tad Weed, on piano, gave Pete Stiers an excitingrun in a fast moving performance of Sing, Sing, Sing. He toured the world with Paul Anka and has played in some of the great concert venues all over the world.
Carol McCartney, vocalist for Dave Bennett for seven years, has worked in her native Canada and been featured with Peter Appleyard’s big band. Peter, an internationally acclaimed vibraphonist, played in the Benny Goodman Band. Carol has a clear, rich voice and her solo performances in Tangerine, Where or When and a duet with Dave Bennett provided romantic balance to a breathtaking evening of instrumental pyrotechnics.
Dave Bennett is the Benny Goodman of our time who generously shares the stage with the talented musicians who make up the Clarinet Swing Kings. He has great fun with his clarinet and can draw out sweet and hot notes, romance and blues. It was a pleasure to watch and listen to musical virtuosos who love what they do. The only difficulty was remaining in our seats! Make certain to reserve your tickets early for Dave Bennett’s next Naples performance. It will be a sell out!