Ken Peplowski and Jesper Thilo have much more in common than the solid expertise of each on both tenor saxophone and clarinet as demonstrated here. The two effortlessly and authentically bring the Swing Era to vibrant life anew. With "Peps," who began his professional career with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, one has only to hear the first few notes from his clarinet on "I Want to Be Happy" to appreciate how great an influence Benny Goodman had on him. Thilo's thrilling trilling, as he races up and down the scales on "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise," is more straight-tahead and euphoric Swing Era jazz. This number is also an opportunity for some friendly dueling of clarinets that understandably evokes excited roars from the audience on this live set.
Don't misunderstand. This is no mere nostalgic or imitative nod to a bygone era. On the '40s classic, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," Peplowski weaves an alluring spell that is as intricate as it is delicately dreamy. On this tune and throughout the set, Thilo Wagner's piano offers accompaniment that is subtle and quiet so that at times it almost seems on the verge of disappearing. Yet somehow it doesn't and the effect is to lend a constant underpinning of melodic strength.
Everyone gets time to swing easy on the wrap-up number, an extended take on Edison/Hendricks' "Centerpiece." Both Peplowski and Thilo give out with unhurried tenor sax sweetness on this one, Thilo especially, with a warmth that for this listener recalled shades of the great Ben Webster.
Hey fellas, bring on Volume Two!
Track Listing: Vignette; I Want to Be Happy; Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You; The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise; Polka Dots and Moonbeams; In Your Own Sweet Way; Centerpiece.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.