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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Doodle Oodle

Woodville WVCD 127



1. Doodle Oodle
2. Two Funky People
3. Titter Pipes
4. In Love In Vain
5. Evening
6. Bennie's Pennies
7. Shady Side
8. Hanid
9. Vignette
10. Ready Eddie
11. Fajista 

Ken Peplowski - Clarinet, tenor sax
Alan Barnes - Alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, clarinet
John Pearce - Piano
Alex Dankworth - Bass
Martin Drew - Drums


Talk about the special relationship between Britain and the USA! This album eloquently illustrates the ties that bind British and American jazzmen. The American (Peplowski) and the Brit (Barnes) have played together at various UK jazz festivals and they obviously enjoy one another's company. It is good to hear two master craftsmen working so harmoniously together - in collaboration, not competition. Both are versatile reedmen - as well as entertaining humorists on the bandstand.

The repertoire they have chosen for this CD is far from hackneyed, although a surprising number of the tunes are based on the chord sequences of other pieces. For example, the title-track is based on There'll Be Some Changes Made; Hanid palindromically gives away its origin as Dinah; and Shady Side's title also hints at an adaptation of Sunny Side of the Street. Yet one hardly notices these sources in the very original interpretations of the tunes.

Alan Barnes seems to like tearaway tempos and Doodle Oodle is certainly fast - perhaps a little too speedy for the comfort of the soloists. Some of my favourite moments on the album occur when Peplowski and Barnes duet on clarinets, as they do in Two Funky People (a languid delight) and Ready Eddie, which Barney Bigard wrote for an Ellingtonian small-group session in 1940. There is no shrillness in either man's clarinet tone - a joy to hear.

Another tune with Ducal connections is Johnny Hodges' Shady Side, on which Alan perfectly captures the inflections of Johnny Hodges' alto sax style - with a feeling of respect rather than imitation. And Fajista is a Ben Webster tune which allows us the pleasure of hearing Ken's tenor sax in partnership with Alan's gruff baritone sax. Ken's breathy tenor is also a major pleasure on In Love in Vain, a Jerome Kern song from the 1946 film Centennial Summer.

In fact there isn't a dud track on the album, and the rhythm section fulfils its role expertly and seamlessly. John Pearce's piano solos are masterpieces of discretion. And Martin Drew gets good opportunities for drum solos on Evening and Bennie's Pennies.

Thanks to Alan Barnes and his Woodville label for another classy recording. And belated best wishes for his 50th birthday!

Tony Augarde 

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