Although primarily identified with the modern swing movement and long a fixture at trad jazz festivals, clarinetist Ken Peplowski's musical interests are not that limited. On this date with pianist Ben Aronov, bassist Greg Cohen, and drummer Chuck Redd, Peplowski not only welcomes as guests his frequent guitarist Howard Alden and (on "Farewell Blues") veteran clarinetist Kenny Davern, but on three pieces he interacts with Marty Ehrlich, whose clarinet and bass clarinet playing is usually heard in avant-garde settings. In addition, on bassist Cohen's "Variations," the full instrumentation consists of Peplowski, Ehrlich on bass clarinet, J.D. Parran on contrabass clarinet, and alto clarinetist Scott Robinson! Although none of the music on his date is really that avant-garde, it does give Peplowski an opportunity to stretch a bit beyond his roots. Highlights include Aronov's Tristano-ish "Benny's Pennies," "Copi," Ehrlich's "The Reconsidered Blues," the heated "Farewell Blues" (the first meeting on record for Peplowski and Davern) and "Variations." A stimulating program.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow