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The Feeling of Jazz

Ken Peplowski & Tommy Newsom

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Album Review

This is a pairing of two tenor saxophonists not known for their work on that instrument. Tommy Newsom played mostly alto in the Tonight Show Big Band, while Peplowski is a prominent clarinetist, with his own groups and with Mel Tormé. Together they play delightful mainstream jazz, mostly standards, in as mellifluous a manner as one could ever need. Consistent throughout, in instrumentation and musical stance, they trade melodies in riffs like good conversation, play beautifully in unison, and are respectful in not stepping on toes. Newsom is quite direct and forward, clipping off bebop phrases with precision and dexterity. Peplowski adds wisps of air to his solos, deft, meaningful, a bit staggered at times. Both are undeniably swinging, and the complementary underpinnings of large-body acoustic guitarist Mike Peters and economical yet simmering pianist Ben Aronov give the frontmen plenty of space to freewheel at will. The title track and Buck Clayton's "It's Sand Man" show the sextet at its cooperative best, while each tenor gets individual space — Newsom with rhythm section on the poignant "Skylark," Peplowski during a tender version of "I'll Close My Eyes." There's some Ellington, Irving Berlin, a take on Horace Silver's "Opus de Funk," and a little wailing on "Lover, Come Back to Me," as well as an Aronov original among the 11 selections. Newsom and Peplowski are clearly having a good time. They perfectly represent the feeling of true partnership on this professional set of delightful classic jazz. Highly recommended. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

Born: 23 May 1959 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s

One of the top clarinetists of the 1990s and a very talented tenor player, Ken Peplowski has helped keep the tradition of small-group swing (and occasionally Dixieland) alive. He made his professional debut at ten and played locally in Cleveland. After spending 1978-1980 touring with the Tommy Dorsey ghost orchestra (directed by Buddy Morrow), Peplowski settled in New York, freelanced in a variety of settings, and played with Benny Goodman. By 1987, he was a Concord artist and has since...
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The Feeling of Jazz, Ken Peplowski
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