Benny Goodman was and is such a powerful influence on generations of musicians — especially clarinetists — that there are many players still living off of the King of Swing’s solos.
But Dan Levinson, who plays a number of reed instruments with great skill and understanding, is head and shoulders above the Kinglets.
He can, upon request, rip off choruses that will make you think you are back at the Madhattan Room with your best girl or fellow in 1937; he can play a lovely ballad. But he’s not a copyist or an imitator at heart. Rather, he’s someone who understands the jazz and pop of that period (and of earlier eras) so that he can improvise on a song that didn’t exist in 1937 or he can make, say, CHINA BOY, sound new.
One of Dan’s groups (he is a man of many affiliations and associations) is his Palomar Trio, which pays tribute to the California spot where Benny and his band caught fire in front of a large popular audience. The other members are the swinging marvel Mark Shane on piano, and the ebullient Kevin Dorn on drums.
They’ll be appearing at Shanghai Jazz in Madison, New Jersey, on Thursday, April 29, 2010 from 7:00 – 9:30 PM. The club is at 24 Main Street. For reservations or information (there’s no cover charge for the music, but there is a $15 food and drink minimum per person, and the menu is — as the name would suggest — Asian), call (973) 822-2899 0r or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The club’s website is www.shanghaijazz.com.
I’ll be there!