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Jazz - Released March 15, 2011 | Capri Records

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Jazz - Released August 20, 2013 | Capri Records

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Jazz - Released August 26, 2011 | Nagel heyer records

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Jazz - Released February 16, 2016 | Capri Records

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Jazz - Released May 10, 2019 | ARBORS

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Chandos

Booklet
Tributes to jazz icons such as Benny Goodman can be double-edged swords, particularly if the band is using some of the same charts as the artist whom they are honoring. This is the case with the BBC Big Band, as they play 14 songs from the extensive Goodman library, with either Ken Peplowski (a veteran of Goodman's final band who also assumes his role as the clarinet soloist) or, on a few tracks, Barry Forgie serving as musical director. Fortunately, Peplowski's outstanding solos and his ability to get the most out of this very well rehearsed large ensemble assure that the essence of these time tested charts comes through. Peplowski was wise to mix in a few lesser known works, such as Hoagy Carmichael's lyrical "Ballad in Blue" and Tom Satterfield's easygoing "Restless," both of which were arranged by Spud Murphy for Goodman in the mid-1930s. But swing fans will naturally gravitate to the most familiar songs to truly evaluate the orchestra. Rodgers & Hart's "Blue Room," arranged by Fletcher Henderson, is a snappy foot patting miniature, and "Stompin' at the Savoy" has a catchy call and response between Peplowski and vibraphonist Anthony Kerr in a swinging performance. Forgie's transcription of the famous "Sing, Sing, Sing" enables the orchestra to nearly match the energy and excitement caused by the famous 1938 Carnegie Hall concert, even though swing fans already know what is coming; Peplowski's adventurous solo wraps it up with a flourish. While it would be unfair to compare these tracks to Benny Goodman's original records, the BBC Orchestra led by Ken Peplowski would get any audience up and dancing and keep them smiling throughout the evening. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 27, 2006 | Nagel heyer records

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Jazz - Released September 20, 2004 | Nagel heyer records

If clarinetist Ken Peplowski seems a little old-fashioned in the post-millennium, then so be it. It's a conscious choice that a number of young players have made since the swing and Dixieland revival from the '70s and onward, and the jazz world is richer for it. Easy to Remember, then, isn't the type of album to cause waves or create new movements. Instead, Peplowski, joined by guitarist Joe Cohn, pianist Ted Rosenthal, bassist Joe Fitzgerald, and drummer Jeff Brillinger put their personal stamp on small band swing. The music, while often familiar, is never predictable. There are fine versions of Cole Porter's "Everything I Love," Lerner-Loewe's "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," and a fine turn on Jobim's "Louisa." Two songs are given fine vocal treatments, the first by Bobby Short on the title cut, the latter -- Paul McCartney's "Junk" -- by Kim Liggett. The album ends with an energetic take on "High on You" with some intense tenor work by Peplowski. With a couple of exceptions (like "High on You"), Easy to Remember is a relaxed effort that evokes the nostalgia conjured up by the old-fashioned photos of New York City on the album's cover. Peplowski fans, and anyone who appreciates jazz the way they used to make it, will warmly embrace Easy to Remember. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 6, 2018 | ARBORS

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Contemporary Jazz - Released August 24, 2009 | Woodville Records

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Jazz - Released March 1, 2017 | SteepleChase LookOut

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Jazz - Released September 20, 2004 | Nagel heyer records

Lost in the Stars sounds like the title of a romantic mood music album, and in fact, parts of this 2001 session are romantic and sentimental. But other parts are up-tempo, exuberant, and hard-swinging. So listeners shouldn't make too much of the album's title; Ken Peplowski, true to form, provides yet another well-rounded swing-to-bop effort that ranges from the lyrical to the exhilarating. Like other Peplowski releases, Lost in the Stars has one foot in small-group swing and the other in early bebop -- an approach that recalls the mid-'40s, when there were a lot of players who were right at that swing/bop border. They were being influenced by the innovations of Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Dizzy Gillespie, but they weren't 100 percent bop and hadn't forgotten about swing. On Lost in the Stars, Peplowski oversees a rhythm section that includes pianist Ben Aranov, bassist Greg Cohen, and drummer Lewis Nash -- and these players serve Peplowski well whether he is on tenor sax or clarinet. Although not groundbreaking, this German release has its share of surprises. Aranov and Cohen do some writing -- Lost in the Stars isn't just an album of overdone warhorses -- and Peplowski unearths a few overlooked gems, including "Ballad for Very Tired and Very Sad Lotus Eaters" (a little known Billy Strayhorn piece from the '50s). "My Ship" certainly falls into the warhorse category -- some would argue that as great as the song is, the jazz world needs to give it a rest in the 21st century. But Peplowski's version of "My Ship" is so gorgeous and deliciously lyrical that one can easily cut him some slack, and he is equally expressive on "Good Morning Heartache." Lost in the Stars falls short of essential, but even so, it is a solid and rewarding addition to Peplowski's catalog. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 30, 2017 | Nagel heyer records

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Jazz - Released November 7, 2006 | Nagel heyer records

This Nagel-Heyer release captures a live performance in October of 1995. "International" is an appropriate description for this group. The countries represented on the bandstand that night in Hamburg, Germany, were the United States, Sweden, England, and Italy. Nonetheless, they captured the excitement and vitality of jazz music that transcends all borders. While this session was set up to honor Goodman's small-group performances, there was no attempt to imitate the King of Swing's style or even all the arrangements he used. The main protagonist on this set is reedman Ken Peplowski. His "Did I Remember" is done in the typical virtuoso, yet relaxed, manner that characterizes his clarinet playing. He's joined by longtime Concord Jazz soul-mate, underappreciated guitarist Howard Alden. "You" features the "use-all-the-piano" hands of Mark Shane and the scintillating vibes of Lars Erstrand, which are constantly in evidence throughout the CD as part of the ensemble and in solo. This very good album is highlighted by the guest appearances of clarinetists Allan Vaché and Antti Sarpila on a medley of tunes especially associated with Goodman: "Memories of You," "Poor Butterfly," "Moonglow," and the last cut "After You've Gone." The appearance of three clarinet players on the same stage together is a sight rarely seen during the days of sax domination. The way these three fed off one another on "After You've Gone" brought down the house, judging from the shouts and huzzahs coming from the audience. Although featured most prominently on clarinet, Peplowski unpacks his tenor for the lengthy, lovely "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me." Able backing is provided by a top-flight rhythm section that is equal to the reeds on this session. In addition to Shane and Alden, Joe Ascione (who has emerged as one of the most sought-after drummers on the scene and is a leader in his own right) drives the group as well as Gene Krupa ever did for Goodman. He is aided and abetted by fellow rhythm section player Len Skeat on bass. In the Goodman tradition, this album is 62 minutes of hot, pulsating swing music, mixed with a couple of ballads. Recommended. © Dave Nathan /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 10, 2008 | Nagel heyer records

Ken Peplowski has long been recognized as one of the top clarinetists and tenor saxophonists of his generation in the U.S., while Jesper Thilo, a Danish tenor saxophonist who also doubles on clarinet, has recorded with many visiting Americans and has seen his own star rise in Europe. This 2002 performance at Birdland Jazzclub in Hamburg is evidently the first of two volumes, a well-recorded intimate evening full of memorable music. After the album opens with a swinging two-tenor interpretation of "Vignette," Peplowski switches to clarinet for the breezy extended workout of the oldie "I Want to Be Happy." Thilo's solo feature is "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You," playing full-bodied tenor (à la Coleman Hawkins) and adding a friendly vocal, while Peplowski's lyrical clarinet is showcased in the relaxed, lyrical setting of "Polka Dots and Moonbeams." Both reedmen sit out "In Your Own Sweet Way," a lightly swinging feature for the rhythm section, which consists of pianist Thilo Wagner, veteran bassist Isla Eckinger, and drummer Gregor Beck. The rousing two-tenor finale of the blues "Centerpiece" also includes a long detour into "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," though the latter song is unlisted in the CD credits. The booklet could have been improved with liner notes explaining how this pairing came about, along with identifying the order of solos when the two men play the same instrument (though Peplowski fans will have little trouble identifying his more playful style) and giving more information about the rhythm section. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Contemporary Jazz - Released June 8, 2015 | Woodville Records

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Jazz - Released July 13, 2012 | Nagel heyer records

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Jazz - Released March 11, 2013 | Music Mecca

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Contemporary Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Sittel Records

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Contemporary Jazz - Released February 13, 2011 | Woodville Records