Ken Peplowski

Steppin' with Peps

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Ken Peplowski is in top form on this consistently exciting swing-based release. Whether playing clarinet (where his Benny Goodman influence is touched by the coolness of Tony Scott) or romping on tenor (mixing together Don Byas with touches of Paul Gonsalves), Peplowski excels throughout this well-planned yet spontaneous session. The dozen performances have many highlights including the interplay of Peplowski and guitarist Howard Alden on "The Courtship," a very beautiful version of "Lotus Blossom" (with Joe Wilder's lyrical trumpet), a hot version of "The Lady's in Love with You" and a reasonably "free" version of Ornette Coleman's "Turn Around." Trumpeters Randy Sandke and Joe Wilder appear on several numbers and the rhythm section (with Alden, pianist Ben Aronov, bassist John Goldsby and drummer Alan Dawson) is excellent but Ken Peplowski emerges as the main star on this memorable set.

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