314

Ken Peplowski: Noir Blue

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Ken Peplowski: Noir Blue
Ken Peplowski has much to say; not in the sense that he jabbers incessantly, as many men with horns (and embouchures for hire) sometimes do. However, in erudite and leaping ululations, and in warm, wafting glissandos he sings of the gaiety and sadness of life. This he does through clarinet or tenor saxophone, depending on the echo and longevity he wishes his harmonic monologues to have. An old soul, with a spectacular perspective on the past, Peplowski lives in a place called the "near future"; just close enough for him to cast shy, but frequent glances into the ever-present. His song is tinged with a glimmering shade of sadness, but as a wry epicure, he seems to always smile just beyond the wet guise of his reeds.

If all this seems contrary to a musician schooled on the waxed floors of swing, it bears mention that the Peplowski eschews unnecessary chatter and hollow garrulousness for meaningful tributaries of sound that always have a harmonic confluence with the poetry of melody and utterly surprising rhythm . He is a not-so-distant disciple of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, of Hoagy Carmichael and therefore Bix Beiderbecke. Not in emulating their music, but certainly in his understanding of the alchemy of sound that made them special beacons that called across the ocean of music. This is why he can hear and reveal in genteel manner a bolero once hidden in "Bourbon Street Jingling Jollies." Or where he might skip and swing with eloquent grace (including a quick wink at Charlie Parker somewhere in the middle chorus) as he romps through the "Riverboat Shuffle," where others might end up with a wild and loud rant.

On Noir Blue, which might well be something to savor for a considerable length of time, the clarinetist and saxophonist finds that he is closer to the deep azure of the Duke that otherwise imagined. Not that anyone is complaining. Ray Noble "Love Locked Out" and Strayhorn's "Multi-Colored Blue" come in complimentary shades of indigo, the latter an elemental lament with a deeply cathartic wail in its tail. "Noir Blue" is equally moving and inhabits the same realm and yet gives credence to the ancient belief that the blues is nothing but deep sorrow turning into joy—and at Peplowski's hand, seemingly turning on a dime if that. Such is his mastery of emotion and his ability to curve the air with feeling.

Peplowski is not alone in this wonderful adventure. Surrounding himself with a group of musicians who subscribe the identical point of view, he forges an alliance that can only further his joyous cause. Pianist Shelly Berg, bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Joe La Barbera are old souls too. They dive into the same well of emotions with Peplowski, plunging into sorrowing hues and bursting out; soaring into the bubbling spray of elation with him. Together they make the experience of Noir Blue something truly unforgettable.

Track Listing

The Best Think for You; Home With You; Bourbon Street Jingle Jollies; Riverboat Shuffle; Love Locked Out; If Not For You; Multi-colored Blue; Noir Blue; Nobody Else But Me; Little Dogs.

Personnel

Ken Peplowski: clarinet; Shelly Berg: piano; Jay Leonhart: bass; Joe La Barbera: drums.

Album information

Title: Noir Blue | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Capri Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Earth
Earth
Dave Liebman
Read Urban(e)
Urban(e)
Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra
Read Hiding Place
Hiding Place
Mark Murphy, Folk Artist
Read The Truce
The Truce
Markus Reuter
Read Data Lords
Data Lords
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Read In Igma
In Igma
Pedro Melo Alves
Read Blood Moon
Blood Moon
Ingrid Laubrock + Kris Davis

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.