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Ken Peplowski: Grenadilla

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In this most recent addition to Ken Peplowski’s growing catalog of leader dates for Concord Jazz, the highly skilled clarinetist continues to expand his reach so as to include even more variety within his already voluminous embrace. Using a core rhythm team of pianist Ben Aronov, bassist Greg Cohen, and drummer Chuck Redd, Peps also employs the talents of various other associates, thereby ensuring an even richer assortment of aural flavors. Thus, guitarist Howard Alden, one of his most felicitous partners, appears with the quartet on “Benny’s Pennies,” “Voce E Eu,” and “Indian Summer,” while mainstream clarinetist Kenny Davern is added to the group for the early jazz standard, “Farewell Blues.” The basic quartet is heard on Aronov’s “Bye” and “Palisades,” but interweaving with these tracks are those played in conjunction with modern clarinetist and bass clarinetist Marty Ehrlich-“Copi,” “The Reconsidered Blues,” and “The Soul In the Wood”-and Cohen’s “Variations,” a piece written for an a cappella woodwind choir with Scott Robinson’s alto clarinet and J.D. Parran’s contrabass clarinetist joining the sopoano and bass voices of Peplowski and Ehrlich. Following the heated “Farewell Blues,” in final position is the purposely restrained but equaly imaginative “Cry Me a River” by the soft-spoken clarinet/guitar/bass trio.