The late Mel Tormé said, Since the advent of Benny Goodman, there have been too few clarinetists to fill the void that Goodman left. Ken Peplowski is most certainly one of those few. The man is magic. The New York Times pronounced a concert of Ken's Goodman Straight Up,With A Twist Of Lightning. These quotes only hint at Ken Peplowski's virtuosity - not only is he an outstanding clarinetist and saxophone player, but he's also a charismatic entertainer who has been delighting audiences for over 30 years with his warmth,wit, and musicianship.
When you grow up in Cleveland, Ohio, playing in a Polish polka band, you learn to think fast on your feet,” says Peplowski, who played his first professional engagement when he was still in elementary school. From my first time performing in public, I knew I wanted to play music for a living. Ken and his trumpet-playing brother, Ted, made many local radio and TV appearances and played for Polish dances and weddings virtually every weekend all through high school. That's where I learned to improvise, 'fake' songs, learn about chord changes, etc. - it's exactly like learning to swim by being thrown into the water!
By the time Ken was in his early teens, he was experimenting with jazz by playing in the school stage bands, and also by jamming with many of the local jazz musicians. By the time I hit high school, I was teaching at the local music store, playing in our family band, and playing jazz gigs around town while still getting up early every day for school.