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Ken Peplowski: All This . . .Live in The U.K. Vol 1

Probably because most of his recordings in the last decade have concentrated on his clarinet artistry, public acknowledgement of Ken Peplowski’s equal mastery of the tenor sax has been somewhat delayed. However, this is not the case with those who have had the opportunity to catch him in person on leader dates such as this, where he can plan sets at his own discretion. Typically, Peplowski likes to devote equal time to each horn within each set, but, for easily understandable reasons having to do with embouchure and finger feel, he prefers to avoid going back and forth from one horn to another.

Taped in performance at Eastleigh Hampshire’s Concorde Club on Jan. 13, 1999, All This is a real-time document of Peplowski’s first set with such top-ranking, longtime British friends as pianist John Pierce, bassist Dave Green and drummer Martin Drew. Peplowski opens up with three tunes on tenor, the medium-paced 1930s standard “Can’t We Be Friends?,” Sonny Stitt’s blazing “Sonny Side” and the 1940 ballad “All This and Heaven Too,” a number whose keynote phrase gave rise to a plethora of subsequent quotes by every bopper and hard-bopper from Bird and Brownie on. On those tunes, Peplowski’s furry tenor sound and serpentine lines flow seamlessly from reflections of Ben Webster through Lucky Thompson and on to his own easily recognizable voice.

Following a swinging version of a Fats Domino tune, “I’m Walking,” by the piano trio, Peplowski returns on clarinet for three more numbers: the admirably transformed rockabilly Elvis ballad “Now and Then There’s a Fool Such as I,” Ellington’s “Le Sucrier Velours” and the briskly played swing-era standard “The Lady’s In Love With You,” another reminder of Peps’ continuing excellence on the smaller horn.

Originally Published