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by Joel Roberts
Though they're separated by nearly 30 years in age, veteran pianist Johnny Varro and clarinetist Ken Peplowski are a perfectly matched pair. Varro, born in Brooklyn in 1930, has been a leading proponent of small-group swing since the '50s, appearing over his long career with the likes of Pee Wee Russell, Buck Clayton and Eddie Condon. Nearing 80, he remains active on the festival and club circuit, still playing in the elegant, Teddy Wilson-inspired style that's been his hallmark for ...read more
by Mike Neely
Traditional jazz fans are lucky because Two Legends of Jazz catches pianist Johnny Varro and clarinetist Ken Peplowski on an inspired day in the studio. Varro has a light, subtle touch and melodic gift reminiscent of Teddy Wilson. Co-leader Peplowski sets aside his saxophones for clarinet during the entire session, which is a treat because his older style, woody sound meshes well with Varro's bright, precise piano. Peplowski is as shrewd and savvy on clarinet as he is on saxophone.read more
by Mike Neely
The Johnny Varro Swing Seven: Swingin’ on West 57th Street is a bright, upbeat septet recording that presents a band with distinctive soloists and a superb rhythm section. Johnny Varro on piano, Michael Moore on bass, and Joe Ascione on drums, are about as good a rhythm section as there exists in traditional jazz, precise and agile with the power to push the music to another level.
The lively arrangements are nearly all written by the leader/pianist Johnny Varro. The ...read more