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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.
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).
I love jazz because it’s what sounds
I was first exposed to jazz in my
parents household and in school
I appreciate many styles of jazz
and shy away from really outside
stuff. I enjoy relating to the
One of the best shows I ever
attended was 1975 Chick Corea’s
Return To Forever tour at an
intimate venue in downtown
The first jazz record I bought was
Herbie Hancock’s Chameleon.
My advice to new listeners is try
several styles before you decide
what jazz is all about!
Listen to music daily and stay open