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The Ken Peplowski Big Band: Sunrise

Read "Sunrise" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Many contemporary big bands are all about “breaking new ground" and “exploring new pathways." Not this one. Ace clarinetist Ken Peplowski, who has performed and recorded with myriad large ensembles, at home and abroad, but has seldom led one--although he did record one other big-band album, Last Swing of the Century (Concord Jazz, 1999)--simply wants to make beautiful music, a goal he and his hand-picked corps of merry men (and one woman) easily reach on Sunrise, as they glide smoothly ...

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Ken Peplowski: Enrapture

Read "Enrapture" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

How on earth do you successfully bind the music of Duke Ellington, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Fats Waller, Herbie Nichols, Bernard Herrmann, Peter Erskine, and Noël Coward into one coherent statement? The answer is simple: You don't, unless you're Ken Peplowski. Over the course of ten tracks from the aforementioned composers and other well-known tunesmiths, Peplowski manages to simultaneously express his love of myriad sounds and styles, a fondness for days gone by, and an ability to move ever ...

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Ken Peplowski: Maybe September

Read "Maybe September" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

In a world where celebrities are anointed and dismissed by the shifting whims of the Twitterverse, it's easy to overlook the steady fires that keep the old traditions burning. The retro cover of Maybe September instantly signals that, once again, the ever-superb reedist Ken Peplowski, aided by the invaluable Capri Record label, will be honoring and extending these traditions. But it's not just a matter of blowing the dust off forgotten antiques: he makes splendid and tasteful music out of ...

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Four Artists Of The Jazz Clarinet Renaissance

Read "Four Artists Of The Jazz Clarinet Renaissance" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Since the jazz clarinet never really died, renaissance--or rebirth--may not be the term that best describes what's happening to the instrument in the twenty-first century jazz universe; it is, however, a pretty good one word synopsis. The licorice stick was there at or near the start, tooting along next to the trumpet and trombone in early twentieth century New Orleans front lines, and its popularity carried over into the swing era, as clarinetists Benny Goodman and Artie ...

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Ken Peplowski: In Search Of ...

Read "In Search Of ..." reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

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, ...

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Ken Peplowski: In Search Of ...

Read "In Search Of ..." reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Ken Peplowski is a clarinet virtuoso, with a tone of such warmth and beauty that it takes only a few bars to create a feel-good atmosphere, either in performance or, as he ably demonstrates on In Search Of ..., in the studio. Although Peplowski has over 20 albums to his name as leader, he's still experimenting, still trying out new ideas--still, presumably, in search of something. The first nine tunes are recordings from a February 2010 quartet ...

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Ken Peplowski/Bucky Pizzarelli Quintet at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola

Read "Ken Peplowski/Bucky Pizzarelli Quintet at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Ken Peplowski/Bucky Pizzarelli QuintetDizzy's Club Coca-ColaNew York, NYNovember 23, 2010 When the dust has settled on Halloween, the leaves have all fallen off of the trees and the temperature takes a dip, it's clear that Thanksgiving is only a short while away. At Thanksgiving, people come together with family, reunite with old friends and take pause to give thanks for all that we have. Jazz fans in New York go through the same process ...

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Ken Peplowski: Noir Blue

Read "Noir Blue" reviewed by Martin Longley

In his liner notes, saxophonist/clarinetist Ken Peplowski reveals that after hitting fifty, he had no desire to make albums that are going through the motions of record company requirements. Not that such bodies are lately in a position to demand anything. He now intends to make recordings when the inspiration is strong and when the circumstances align in an encouraging fashion. A major part of this disc's genesis seems to be the rapport that Peplowski shares with pianist Shelly Berg. ...

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Ken Peplowski: Noir Blue

Read "Noir Blue" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

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 ...

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Ken Peplowski: Noir Blue

Read "Noir Blue" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Noir Blue is a slight coloring outside the lines for clarinetist/saxophonist Ken Peplowski. His most recent recordings (with Arbors and Nagel Heyer) have focused on older swing forms and repertoire. Presently, Peplowski is playing pure jazz quartet music with pianist Shelly Berg, bassist Jay Leonhart, and drummer Joe La Barbera. The song choice is anything but standard, thought it never ventures too far from Peplowski's comfort zone.

Noir Blue is heavy on the Ellington/Strayhorn book, clocking in with a third ...

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Ken Peplowski / Jesper Thilo: Happy Together - Live At Birdland Volume One

Read "Happy Together - Live At Birdland Volume One" reviewed by Andrew Velez

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 ...

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Ken Peplowski Gypsy Jazz Band: Gypsy Lamento

Read "Gypsy Lamento" reviewed by Martin Longley

This is a gypsy combo of the Django Reinhardt persuasion, rather than being fully-crazed wedding party cacophony. In fact, reedman Ken Peplowski makes matters even more specialized by concentrating on a preponderance of slow plodders rather than the frenetic hurtling that many gypsy jazz guitar outfits now prefer. The album's cover is slightly strange. Two pseudo-brides in billowing white silk cavort with a pair of goats. Is this what gypsy life entails? Half of the compositions are ...


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