158

Ken Peplowski: In Search Of ...

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Ken Peplowski: In Search Of ... The splenetic and hard-nosed clarinetist/bandleader Benny Goodman admired tenor saxophonist Ken Peplowski enough to hire the younger musician on for his last performing band, during the mid-1980s. But the Cleveland, Ohio-born and bred Peplowski's main ax was, in fact, the clarinet. He spent a good part of his early career playing in Polish polka bands, and hiring on to play whatever other music jobs that were available. He eventually joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, under the baton of Buddy Morrow, and studied with saxophonist Sonny Stitt, before taking the Goodman job, going on to team with labels including Concord, Nagel-Heyer and Capri, putting out more than thirty albums as a leader, including the marvelous Noir Blue (Capri, 2010).

In Search Of ... finds Peplowski in a beautifully laidback, often swinging quartet setting with two first-rate groups, class acts both. The cool refinement and musicianship are of the highest order, with Peplowski as smooth and mellifluous as they come on clarinet, and possessing a very mellow, Ben Webster-ish tone on tenor. Shelly Berg, the pianist on the first nine numbers, displays a clean, restrained and tasty touch, similar to that of Hank Jones, and he also contributes a couple of strikingly lovely tunes: "In Flower," an homage to Duke Ellington's partner, Billy Strayhorn; and "Peps"—for Peplowski, of course.

"A Ship Without a Sail," an obscure Rodgers and Hart tune, floats along with subtle grace, while Rodgers and Hammerstein's "This Nearly Was Mine" is pensive, suffused with a feeling of lonely regret.

"No Regrets" introduces three numbers from the second recording session. A duet with bassist Greg Cohen is bouncy and upbeat, with Peplowski swinging with zest on tenor. "Within You Without You," a George Harrison tune from The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Capitol, 1967), lends a haunting, Eastern mood, while "Rum and Coca Cola," referencing Professor Longhair's version of the song, ends the set on a loose-limbed New Orleans note.

Track Listing: The Thespian; Love's Disguise; When Joanna Loved Me; Falsa Baiana; A Ship Without A Sail; With Every Breath I Take; In Flower; Peps; This Nearly Was Mine; No Regrets; Within You And Without You; Rum And Coca Cola.

Personnel: Ken Peplowski: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Shelly Berg: piano (1-9); Tom Kennedy: bass (1-9); Jeff Hamilton: drums (1-9); Greg Cohen: bass (10, 11); Chuck Redd: vibraphone (11); Joe Ascione: percussion (11), drums (12).

Title: In Search Of ... | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Capri Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Laughing At Life" CD/LP/Track Review Laughing At Life
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Invention of Knowledge" CD/LP/Track Review Invention of Knowledge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Crystal Machine" CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Machine
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "A Social Call" CD/LP/Track Review A Social Call
by James Nadal
Published: May 25, 2017
Read "Strykin’ Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Strykin’ Ahead
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 13, 2017
Read "The Other Shore" CD/LP/Track Review The Other Shore
by John Sharpe
Published: September 26, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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