FLINT — Clarinet virtuoso Dave Bennett does not fit the mold of a “typical” clarinet player.
For starters, he names Alice Cooper, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Chris Isaak among his top influences. He’s also equally conversant with the music of Benny Goodman (the “King of Swing”) and Roy Orbison (“The Soul of Rock and Roll”).
Bennett, a jazz clarinetist who plays electric guitar, piano, drums and vocalizes, will be bringing his versatile repertoire to mid-Michigan when he joins the Mott Community College Jazz Ensemble for a concert on April 23.
Comprised of students, alumni and community musicians, the MCC Jazz Ensemble will present a program featuring all-time jazz and big band classics such as Benny Goodman’s “Sing Sing Sing,” “Don’t Be That Way” and Gordon Goodwin’s arrangement of Mozart’s 40th Symphony.
The band will also play tunes by Jazz legends Count Basie, Thad Jones and Woody Herman, and Bennett will perform his score “Blood Moon.”
“Bennett is a top flight clarinet player in the Benny Goodman tradition who plays all over the United States and, lucky for us, just lives in the Clarkston area,” said Franklin Yon, director of the MCC Jazz Ensemble. “Some who have seen him through the years say that you’ll never hear anyone better, and I would agree.”
Bennett is a Mack Avenue Records artist. His 2013 CD “Don’t Be That Way” met with critical acclaim, and his second release, “Blood Moon,” which features five originals and six pop/jazz covers, hit No. 24 on the Billboard Jazz chart in 2018.
In addition to his recording work, Bennett has covered music from the Swing Era to early Rockabilly and Country. His “Tribute to Benny Goodman” shows have toured across the country, including Nashville, Detroit, Rochester NY, Omaha, Toronto, Vancouver, Orlando, San Antonio, Jacksonville, Portland, OR and Portland, ME and Houston.
Bennett has been a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops (2013) and has played with 35 other American and Canadian orchestras. He made his European debut in 2008 at the 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.
An annual fixture at several American music festivals, Bennett’s “Rockin the ‘50s” show pays tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis (piano and vocals), and Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley (electric guitar and vocals). Some of his annual “roots music” presenters include The Elkhart Jazz Festival, The Suncoast Classic Jazz Festival, The Arizona Classic Jazz Festival, The Southeast Clambake Music Festival and The Redwood Coast Music Festival.
Bennett’s concert with the MCC Jazz Ensemble will be held in the auditorium of the Mott Memorial Building at 7 p.m. on April 23. The show is free and open to the public.