Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

304

Johnny Varro: Two Legends of Jazz

Mike Neely By

Sign in to view read count
Johnny Varro: Two Legends of Jazz Traditional jazz fans are lucky because Two Legends of Jazz catches pianist Johnny Varro and clarinetist Ken Peplowski on an inspired day in the studio. Varro has a light, subtle touch and melodic gift reminiscent of Teddy Wilson. Co-leader Peplowski sets aside his saxophones for clarinet during the entire session, which is a treat because his older style, woody sound meshes well with Varro's bright, precise piano. Peplowski is as shrewd and savvy on clarinet as he is on saxophone.



The opening "My Baby Just Cares For Me" sets the tone for the date with a jaunty exchange between the two leaders. If catching these two leaders on a good day isn't enough, this session could be one of drummer Joe Ascione's finest performances on record. As usual, his brush and snare work are superb, and his extended solo exchange with Varro on "The Touch of Your Lips" is a lesson in taste and concision. Bassist Frank Tate lays the solid groundwork for this lively quartet. For the most part, Tate plays a supportive role, but traditional jazz fans should ask why so many sessions work out so well when Tate is on board.



Those unfamiliar with Varro and Peplowski have been missing out on two very accomplished musicians; equally, those not familiar with Ascione and Tate have been missing one of the best rhythm sections in jazz. Whether the band is tearing through "Out of Nowhere" or simply having fun with Benny Goodman's "Smoooth One," the music is confident and upbeat, presenting traditional jazz as a dialog of extraordinary musicians at play. Two Legends of Jazz is highly recommended.


Track Listing: My Baby Just Cares For Me; The Touch of Your Lips; Menina Flor; After I Say I'm Sorry (What Can I Say); It's Easy to Remember; A Smoooth One; Bluesette; You're a Sweetheart; Secret Love; Out of Nowhere; Love Locked Out; I Love You; Someday, You'll Be Sorry; Blues on 57th Street; The Way You Look Tonight.

Personnel: Johnny Varro: piano; Ken Peplowski: clarinet; Frank Tate: bass; Joe Ascione: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Arbors Records | Style: Dixieland/New Orleans/Swing


Shop

More Articles

Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read King Of Xhosa CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Blooming Tall Phlox CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Sunday Night At The Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Sunday Night At The Vanguard
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 18, 2016
Read "Dyad Plays Jazz Arias" CD/LP/Track Review Dyad Plays Jazz Arias
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Across The Bridge" CD/LP/Track Review Across The Bridge
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 5, 2016
Read "My Scandinavian Blues: A Tribute to Horace Parlan" CD/LP/Track Review My Scandinavian Blues: A Tribute to Horace Parlan
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "57th & 9th" CD/LP/Track Review 57th & 9th
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "The Art of the Improv Trio Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review The Art of the Improv Trio Volume 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!