Robbie Scott may have grown up in the late '60s listening to pyschedelic rock, but that doesn't mean he has to love it.

Scott has gone back to earlier days for his career direction, to the music he heard on his dad's radio as a kid. Swing music. The sounds of Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. When lyrics were woeful and romantic. When people used to touch when they danced.

"My philosophy is this: I like a melody that you can latch on to," he says. "I like lyrics that are meaningful. And most of all I like to swing."

And swing he does. On most Monday nights he can be found playing drums with Woody Allen tootin' away on the clarinet at East Side Manhattan's infamous Michael's Pub. He also played with Benny Goodman for six months in 1986, just before the illustrious clarinetist and big band leader died. He's accompanied songster-pianist Bobby Short at the Carlyle for the last 10 years. And he has his own big band in New York, the New Deal Swing Band, which plays parties and concerts at the Savoy Grill and the Red Blazer Too. "I've played many styles of music," says Scott, "but I've come full circle to the music my father used to play. Those old 78s. Growing up listening to 'Sing Sing Sing' at breakfast. This is where I feel most comfortable."

He plays the music of the '20s, '30s and '40s. His favorite composer, by far, is Ellington. But he also loves and plays the music of Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Rodgers and Hart.

"I believe harmony, lyrics and rhythm all came together during that period," he says. "It's great dancing music. And I love to see people dance."

Robbie Scott and the New Deal Swing Band are performing a musical tribute to award-winning arranger and retiring Montgomery College professor Bill Potts today at 3 in the Montgomery College Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $18 for general admission, $16 for seniors and students, and are available at the door. For information, call 279-5301.