Dave McKenna

You Must Believe in Swing

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On this wonderful set, pianist Dave McKenna and clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, mutual admirers who had rarely played together before, perform ten exciting duets. Because McKenna is an expert at keeping basslines going, takes hot single-note solos with his right hand, and is a very self-sufficient pianist, there was no need for other musicians. DeFranco, a brilliant clarinetist for over half a century at this point, sounds inspired by the setting. Although one might consider the clarinetist to be boppish while McKenna is swing-oriented, the pianist has played bop before, and DeFranco is a veteran of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Count Basie's early-'50s combos, so there was plenty of overlapping between their styles. On tunes such as "The Song Is You," the exquisite "Autumn Nocturne," "Poor Butterfly," and "Anthropology," the McKenna-DeFranco matchup is particularly magical. Recommended to fans of either of the musicians.

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