Ken Peplowski

In Search of … (CAPRI 74108-2)

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In Search of …

Ken Peplowski



CAP 126448

CAPRI 74108-2



In Search of …

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CD 9,88 €

Clarinetist and saxophonist Ken Peplowski has been a first-call sideman for decades, appearing on albums by the likes of Hank Jones, Leon Redbone, Charlie Byrd, Peggy Lee, George Shearing, and even Madonna. He has also recorded something like 30 albums as a leader, many of them brilliant. It will be hard for him to top this one, however. Supported by a trio consisting of pianist Shelly Berg, bassist Tom Kennedy, and drummer Jeff Hamilton, Peplowski gently but firmly establishes his mastery of multiple modern jazz genres without coming across as a show-off or sacrificing taste and musicality. The album's opening track, "The Thespian," serves almost like an opera overture, summarizing the stylistic themes to come: opening in a soft ballad mode, it suddenly and seamlessly shifts into straight-ahead bebop, then veers off into modal, almost impressionistic territory before coming back to earth on the out chorus. When Peplowski begins trading fours with Berg, it sounds like a genial but spirited conversation between old friends, which, in fact, it is. That track alone is nearly worth the price of the CD, but others follow that are just as good: the quietly soaring "Love's Disguise" (to which Peplowski's clarinet provides a particularly lovely note of melancholy grace), a handful of utterly gorgeous ballads (including "When Joanna Loved Me" and "A Ship Without a Sail"), and the light and lively "Peps," written by Berg for Peplowski. Oddly, the last three tracks on the program were pulled from a self-produced recording he made in 2007; one is a duo with bassist Greg Cohen, one a trio number with Cohen and vibraphonist Chuck Redd. But the final track is the funnest of them all: a duo version of "Rum and Coca Cola" played in homage to Professor Longhair at a benefit show shortly after Hurricane Katrina. It features Peplowski accompanied only by drummer Joe Ascione, and the variations he spins on this simple tune over the course of more than five uninterrupted minutes are a wonder to hear. It's a sweet, charming, and jaw-droppingly virtuosic finale to a brilliant album. ~ Rick Anderson

Ken Peplowski shows his diversity on this blending of two sessions, the first 8 tunes reuniting him with pianist Shelly Berg with rhythm support of Tom Kennedy and Jeff Hamilton and the remaining 3 tunes pairing off with bassist Greg Cohen, drummer Joe A

Ken Peplowski clarinet and tenor saxophone
Shelly Berg piano
Tom Kennedy bass
Jeff Hamilton drums

1 Thespian           
2 Love's Disguise           
3 When Joanna Loved Me           
4 Falsa Baiana           
5 Ship Without a Sail           
6 With Every Breath I Take See All 2           
7 In Flower           
8 Peps           
9 This Nearly Was Mine           
10 No Regrets           
11 Within You and Without You           
12 Rum And Coca Cola