In the years following World War II, Dave Shepherd took up the clarinet and quickly developed into one of the U.K.'s most respected and admired musicians. An eclectic performer, ranging from Dixieland through most aspects of the mainstream to the fringes of bop, he played with many British and American musicians ranging from Freddy Randall to Billie Holiday. Despite a short spell in the U.S. in the mid-'50s and appearances at international festivals, Shepherd's career was centered in the U.K., and he worked regularly with the Pizza Express All Stars, Digby Fairweather, Roy Williams, Len Skeat, and others. A superbly professional musician, Shepherd's ability to re-create the immaculate styling of Benny Goodman led to an unfair tendency to narrow the focus of critical attention. In fact, when allowed free rein to his talent, he consistently demonstrated unfailing swing and a quality of musical elegance conspicuously absent in many better-known players.
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