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Artist Profiles

Ken Peplowski: Good Times On the Road For Reed Virtuoso

By Published: July 17, 2008
Peplowski, who has played classical himself, also admires Richard Stoltzman, the classical clarinetist who ventures into jazz. In 1996 he recorded with a Bulgarian symphony orchestra in the well reviewed The Other Portrait. "I look for chances to play classical music," he says. "In 2006 I performed Stravinsky's 'Soldier's Tale' in New York in an adaptation by Kurt Vonnegut the year before he died."

Peplowski signed with Concord Records in the '90s and has recorded a string of discs over the years. Particularly impressive were two duo recordings with guitarist Howard Alden, in '93, Concord Duo and '94, Encore! Live at Centre Concord. Last year he returned to the duo format with Alden with the release of Pow Wow on Arbors Jazz. His upcoming CD with the Bill Charlap Trio features ballads, and it will be released soon, according to Peplowski.

Come July and August 2008 his schedule gives him a little time off the road. At home, he loves to sit around and read. One of his favorites is Charles Dickens. Recently he finished reading "Our Mutual Friend." Otherwise, he says, "I love just walking around New York, playing a little tennis, going to movies and spending time with the family."

His wife, Kim, is a travel agent who owns Songbird Travel Services. "She got into travel when she looked into my itineraries and figured she could do a better job making my arrangements," he says. "She specializes in working with musicians." Both have two children from previous marriages, ranging in age from 7 to 14.

"Kim's lining up a real vacation for us in the Caribbean, in 2008," he says. "Promoters sell you on the idea that playing at a weekend party or on a cruise is like a vacation. But believe me it's not. When you're playing you're concentration is on that, not on relaxing."

Selected Discography

Ken Peplowski and Howard Alden, Pow-Wow (Arbors, 2008)
Ken Peplowski and Jesper Thilo, Happy Together (Nagel-Heyer, 2008)
Ken Peplowski, Last Swing of the Century (Concord Vista, 1999)
Ken Peplowski, Grenadilla (Concord Jazz, 1998)

Photo Credit
Courtesy of Django Birdland

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