Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

143

Ken Peplowski: Grenadilla

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
Here clarinetist extraordinaire Ken Peplowski takes on some challenges: alongside his sidemen pianist Ben Aronov, bassist Greg Cohen, and drummer Chuck Redd, are guests Howard Alden on acoustic and electric guitars (on five tracks), Marty Ehrlich on clarinet and bass clarinet (four tracks), Kenny Davern on clarinet ("Farewell Blues"), and Scott Robinson on alto clarinet and J. D. Parran on contrabass clarinet ("Variations"). Ehrlich and Parran have played in recent years with Anthony Braxton, and are not quite the guests one might expect Ken Peplowski to invite to his recording date. But – here they are.

Despite the unexpected company, this disc is as genially pleasant as all Pep recordings. "Benny's Pennies" is a bright takeoff of Tristano's "Lennie's Pennies"; "Voce e eu" is a trip to bossaville. "Copi" introduces Ehrlich, playing as lyrically as...Ken Peplowski. He intertwines a few lines with the boss effectively, without a trace of dissonance. (Of course, Ehrlich plays like this often, just not always. Compare this with his work on standards in Braxton's "Piano Quartet," by turns sweetly lyrical and titanically hell-raising.)

"'Bye" is a quirky theme from Aronov that gives Peplowski plenty of room. "The Reconsidered Blues" is achingly melancholy. "Variations" sounds like Peplowski is improvising brightly over something by Webern. Full of angular modernist harmonies, this fascinating track makes one wish Peplowski had recorded a whole disc with Ehrlich, Parran, and Robinson. I don't know what Peplowski fans will make of it, but it is sweet enough, and certainly shows the leader's variegated abilities.

But all too quickly it is over. "The Soul in the Wood" is indeed soulful; "Palisades" is more of Ken's patented retro swing; "Indian Summer" is a playful romp with Alden; "Farewell Blues" is too brisk to get sentimental, and approaches outright Jelly Roll-ism; and "Cry Me A River" culminates another solid Peplowski date, leaving us to wonder if he'll venture even farther into the outer reaches next time.


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).

Personnel:

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

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2018
Read 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert CD/LP/Track Review 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Masters Of War" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Of War
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Post Cool: Vol 1 The Night Shift" CD/LP/Track Review Post Cool: Vol 1 The Night Shift
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Luisa" CD/LP/Track Review Luisa
by Doug Collette
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "Autumn Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Autumn Wind
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 3, 2017
Read "Gonimoblast Live" CD/LP/Track Review Gonimoblast Live
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 25, 2017
Read "Retrorespective" CD/LP/Track Review Retrorespective
by Phillip Woolever
Published: June 15, 2017