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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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KEN PEPLOWSKI

Maybe September

Capri 74125-2

 

 

1. All Alone By The Telephone

2. Moon Ray

3. Always A Bridesmaid

4. A Fool Such As I

5. Romanza ( from Poulenc’s Clarinet Sonata)

6. Caroline, No

7. For No One

8. I’ll String Along With You

9. Main Stem

10. Maybe September

11. Without Her

 

Ken Peplowski – Clarinet, tenor sax

Ted Rosenthal – Piano

Martin Wind – Bass

Matt Wilson – Drums

 

Perhaps the cover art for Ken Peplowski’s latest release Maybe September, which is a 1940 painting by Edward Hopper entitled Gas and is representative of a simpler time in American life, conveys Peplowski’s intent on delivering an unabashed offering of straightforward jazz in a quartet setting reminiscent of similar-style small bands of the thirties and forties.

In a set list that is a mixture of old, new, borrowed and blue, Peplowski and his cohorts mine the genre with interesting results. Beginning with Irving Berlin’s All Alone By the Telephone which is taken at a dirge tempo, Peplowski’s clarinet rings every ounce of pathos from the tune possible. More successful is the Artie Shaw gem Moon Ray which bounces along at a sprightly tempo with Peplowski using the full range of the clarinet to great effect, followed by a resonant bass solo from Martin Wind. Ted Rosenthal’s thoughtful piano interlude is then followed by a drum break from Matt Wilson with Peplowski taking the tune out. A Canadian country & western musical icon Hank Snow had a hit with Bill Trader’s A Fool Such As I but there is no musical hangover with the band’s take on the tune, which flits and darts around the melody with terrific effect.

Francis Poulenc’s Romanza from his Clarinet Sonata is faithful rendered and demonstrates that Peplowski has command of his instrument on big-boy material but its inclusion here is somewhat of a mystery. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys penned Caroline, No which Peplowski uses as a vehicle to demonstrate his talent on tenor sax and which seems perfectly suited to Wilson’s poignant tune. The Duke Ellington swinger Main Stem has Peplowski again on tenor sax sounding ever so Paul Gonsalves-like, with Ted Rosenthal digging out his piano chops in scintillating fashion. The final Peplowski offering on tenor sax is Maybe September which is the album’s title track and a lovely one it is. Written by Percy Faith/Jay Livingston/Ray Evans it gained its cachet when it was recorded by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans in 1977 on their album Together Again. Supported by Ted Rosenthal’s evocative piano backing, Peplowski takes the measure of the composition and finds its nooks and crannies to show it off at its best.

This direct-to-two-track and live-in-studio recording confirms what Will Friedwald said of Ken Peplowski in an article for the Wall Street Journal in December 2012: “Mr. Peplowski sounds the way [Benny] Goodman might if he had kept evolving.”

Pierre Giroux



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