Ken Peplowski: Grenadilla

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Ken Peplowski shares his clarinet artistry on Grenadilla, his 15th album as leader for Concord Records; the title comes from the particular type of wood used in making most clarinets. Working with the mainstream piano trio of Ben Aronov, bassist Greg Cohen and drummer Chuck Redd, Peplowski presents an eclectic session. Guitarist Howard Alden guests on five songs and several clarinet virtuosos appear elsewhere. Peplowski works with Scott Robinson, Marty Ehrlich, and J.D. Parran on Greg Cohen's composed piece "Variations" using clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet, respectively. Kenny Davern joins the leader to form a duo on "Farewell Blues," as each offers a lengthy clarinet solo backed by the piano trio and guitar. The two offer widely different approaches to clarinet articulation, but come together with this familiar trad jazz classic.

Ehrlich and Peplowski work with the piano trio on three pieces. "The Soul in the Wood" is particularly interesting because of its dramatic mainstream mood. It is Ehrlich's composition, and is driven by a firm piano bass line, doubled bass, and unison bass clarinet. It features Peplowski's imaginative clarinet along with a fine piano solo and well-planned ensemble counterpoint.

Peplowski and Alden have collaborated on nearly a dozen albums including their Concord Duo Series, Volume Three. The sensitive interplay on "Cry Me a River," as they trade lengthy solo sections, is at the very heart of jazz empathy and serves to remind us that an artist should always strike a balance between individuality and working with his teammates. Ben Aronov's "`Bye" and "Palisades" are presented by the pared-down ensemble of clarinet with piano trio. It's a chance to appreciate the delicate and lyrical nature of Peplowski's solo voice along with individual spotlights on each member of his straight-ahead quartet. Highly Recommended.

Track Listing:

Benny's Pennies; Voce e Eu; Copi; 'Bye; The Reconsidered Blues; Variations; The Soul in the Wood; Palisades; Indian Summer; Farewell Blues; Cry Me a River (63:38).


Ken Peplowski, clarinet; Ben Aronov, piano; Greg Cohen, bass; Chuck Redd, drums; Howard Alden, acoustic and electric guitars (1, 2, 9-11); Kenny Davern, clarinet (10); Marty Ehrlich, clarinet, bass clarinet (3, 5-7); J. D. Parran, contrabass clarinet (6); Scott Robinson, alto clarinet (6).

Title: Grenadilla | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Discussions" CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Zentuary" CD/LP/Track Review Zentuary
by John Kelman
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "WAHOO!" CD/LP/Track Review WAHOO!
by Greg Simmons
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "What Time Is It?" CD/LP/Track Review What Time Is It?
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 6, 2017
Read "Songs Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Of Life
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Post Bop Gypsies" CD/LP/Track Review Post Bop Gypsies
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.