diego figueiredo ken peplowski 1 credit carol loricco
Diego Figueiredo and Ken Peplowski - photo credit Carol Loricco

"Ken Peplowski is one of those fine young Americans who are currently setting so much of the pace in all that's good in jazz.” Jazz Journal International
“Ken Peplowski is arguably the greatest living jazz clarinetist” Russell Davies, BBC2

Over the years, Peplowski has collaborated with a litany of musicians including Mel Tormé, Leon Redbone, Charlie Byrd, Peggy Lee, George Shearing, Madonna, Hank Jones, Dave Frishberg, Rosemary Clooney, Tom Harrell, James Moody, Cedar Walton, Houston Person, Steve Allen, Woody Allen and Erich Kunzel. A past member of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Ken joined the group under the direction of Buddy Morrow. "Buddy heard me with my quartet at a Cleveland jazz festival along with Teddy Wilson's trio and the Dorsey band, and made an offer right then,” said Ken. Peplowski met Sonny Stitt while on the road with the Dorsey band, and studied with him. "He was, and is, an inspiration to all of us who make a living 'on the road' - I've never heard anybody play with such amazing consistency as Sonny, through all kinds of settings."

When the legendary Benny Goodman came out of retirement and put together a new band, he hired Peplowski on tenor saxophone. Regarding his years with Goodman’s band, Peplowski says, “I think Benny was as great a figure to the clarinet as Louis Armstrong was to the trumpet. He was an extremely tough band leader, but he was as demanding on himself as he was on us. Part of the key to unlocking the enigma of Benny was that he thought about music pretty much 24 hours a day.”

Signing with Concord Records, Peplowski came under the tutelage of Carl Jefferson, the founder and president. He recorded close to 20 albums as a leader, including The Natural Touch in 1992 which won Best Jazz Record of the Year by the Prises Deutschen Schallplatten Kritiken, and The Other Portrait, recorded in Sophia, Bulgaria with the symphony orchestra and highlighting Ken's classical side. Other records include "Lost in the Stars" and Easy To Remember, on Nagel Heyer Records label. His latest, Noir Blue, is on the Capri Record label.

Ken also conducts workshops for students of all ages. "My goal is to get the students to learn how to teach themselves, and to learn how to bring out their own best qualities; after all, jazz is about individuality-first you learn the rules, then you break them. I would like to think that I never stop learning, myself!"



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