Reviewing Last Man Standing…
Rhythms magazine, Al Hensley
For decades a mainstay of the Brisbane jazz and blues scene, singer-songwriter David Bentley combines elements of both genres into this 51 minutes of ten original compositions plus a funky reworking of Mose Allison’s Everybody Crying Mercy.
Bentley’s keyboard prowess is highly impressive. His innovative jazz stylings on Refugee and Only Human display finely honed arranging talents. Originality is the keynote of his lyrical work. Musing on a diverse range of themes, Bentley’s melancholy, urbanely sophisticated discourse Irretrievably Blue and gospel-tinged Soul Rites give way to socio-political commentary in Passport To The Blues where he asks “Do we really need a sequel to World Wars I and II.”
Noel Mengel, Courier-Mail
LIKE another Australian jazzman, Dick Hughes, David Bentley has balanced a career as piano-man by night and journalist by day. But he’s finally made the time to release another solo set, a classy collection of the jazz-tinged R&B which has been entertaining Queensland audiences these past 30 years.
In Britain Bentley is still best-known as the author of In a Broken Dream, the 1970s hit sung by Rod Stewart for Bentley’s band, Python Lee Jackson. This collection shows he still has the touch as a songwriter, expertly framed by a cast of leading Australian jazz-blues players including guitarists Kirk Lorange and Jim Kelly and drummer Mark Kennedy.
In style, Last Man Standing fits with the likes of Georgie Fame and the later Van Morrison, easily moving between jazz, soul and blues, with healthy doses of New Orleans on tunes like Chiang Rai Hilton and Refugee, which is the kind of spectral funk more often associated with the Neville Brothers.
Dave Gendel, Time Off magazine
A multi-skilled writer, player and now producer, David Bentley’s trademark keys work has found its way onto many a local CD, not to mention countless stages across the South East.
On Last Man Standing, Bentley takes on the steep learning curve of self-production with an astounding sense of acoustic clarity and proficiency. This, combined with his personal approach to blues and the outer limits of soul, create an engaging listening situation.
The album’s character – and indeed its charm – does seem to stem directly from the musicians and their relationship with Bentley’s playing, both in the live takes and in the ‘edited’ recordings. Beyond the musicianship, it’s also Bentley’s songwriting that lends the record a sense of self.” Dave Gendel. Time Off magazine.
To listen to the pumping shuffle rhythms on the opening track of this vibrant new album is to feel an urge to dance. Then there is Mark Spencer’s slippery sax riff on Irretrievably Blue and the bitter sweet ‘Nawlins-style love song Lie To Me.
It’s an album that grabs the listener…from track one through to the final cut.
Chris Stafford, Life Etc magazine
Last Man Standing: ‘It’s not really over till the fat man sings the blues.’ With the help of the cream of Aussie musos, a Brisbane pianist-songwriter sashays through an accomplished album that proudly wears its New Orleans influences on its sleeve and contains at least two classics: Soul Rites, a duet with the electrifying Juanita Otene Witika; and Irretrievably Blue, a jazzy ‘bouillabaisse of sorrow’. Tasty.
Verdict: Deep blues from deep north.