In a world where celebrities are anointed and dismissed by the shifting whims of the Twitterverse, it's easy to overlook the steady fires that keep the old traditions burning. The retro cover of Maybe September instantly signals that, once again, the ever-superb reedist Ken Peplowski, aided by the invaluable Capri Record label, will be honoring and extending these traditions. But it's not just a matter of blowing the dust off forgotten antiques: he makes splendid and tasteful music out of any material, whatever its original era and style. The result is a record that comfortably embraces a serene ...read more
Since the jazz clarinet never really died, renaissance--or rebirth--may not be the term that best describes what's happening to the instrument in the twenty-first century jazz universe; it is, however, a pretty good one word synopsis. The licorice stick was there at or near the start, tooting along next to the trumpet and trombone in early twentieth century New Orleans front lines, and its popularity carried over into the swing era, as clarinetists Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw brought the instrument into many a home via their respective recordings and radio broadcasts. Things were looking up for ...read more
If musical knowledge and taste were currency, pianist Dick Hyman and clarinetist Ken Peplowski would be two of the wealthiest men around. Hyman, an octogenarian legend with killer technique and near-unparalleled knowledge about virtually every style of jazz, and Peplowski, the witty woodwind wonder who stands tall as one of the clarinet kingpins on the scene today, make for a perfect match. Both men have deep respect for the tradition(s) of this music, but neither one looks at jazz as a museum piece; they both recognize that it's a living and breathing art form that's open to endless interpretation and ...read more
The splenetic and hard-nosed clarinetist/bandleader Benny Goodman admired tenor saxophonist Ken Peplowski enough to hire the younger musician on for his last performing band, during the mid-1980s. But the Cleveland, Ohio-born and bred Peplowski's main ax was, in fact, the clarinet. He spent a good part of his early career playing in Polish polka bands, and hiring on to play whatever other music jobs that were available. He eventually joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, under the baton of Buddy Morrow, and studied with saxophonist Sonny Stitt, before taking the Goodman job, going on to team with labels including Concord, Nagel-Heyer ...read more
Ken Peplowski is a clarinet virtuoso, with a tone of such warmth and beauty that it takes only a few bars to create a feel-good atmosphere, either in performance or, as he ably demonstrates on In Search Of ..., in the studio. Although Peplowski has over 20 albums to his name as leader, he's still experimenting, still trying out new ideas--still, presumably, in search of something. The first nine tunes are recordings from a February 2010 quartet session. Peplowski makes some terrific choices for this set, from Robert Wells and Jack Segal's beautiful ballad When Joanna Loved ...read more
Ken Peplowski/Bucky Pizzarelli QuintetDizzy's Club Coca-ColaNew York, NYNovember 23, 2010 When the dust has settled on Halloween, the leaves have all fallen off of the trees and the temperature takes a dip, it's clear that Thanksgiving is only a short while away. At Thanksgiving, people come together with family, reunite with old friends and take pause to give thanks for all that we have. Jazz fans in New York go through the same process and an appreciative audience was on hand at Dizzy's to give thanks for the music of reedman Ken Peplowski and ...read more
In his liner notes, saxophonist/clarinetist Ken Peplowski reveals that after hitting fifty, he had no desire to make albums that are going through the motions of record company requirements. Not that such bodies are lately in a position to demand anything. He now intends to make recordings when the inspiration is strong and when the circumstances align in an encouraging fashion. A major part of this disc's genesis seems to be the rapport that Peplowski shares with pianist Shelly Berg. Also on hand are Jay Leonhart (bass) and Joe La Barbera (drums), both of whom navigate the common ground with ...read more
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