Jazz - The Ken Peplowski Quartet

Many consider Ken Peplowski to be the best jazz clarinetist in the world, and he isn’t bad on the tenor sax, either. He came to fame as part of the swing revival in the States in the eighties, and learnt much of what he knows playing sax with the late Benny Goodman, whilst picking up tips on Goodman’s unique clarinet style. “I think he was as great as a figure to the clarinet as Louis Armstrong was to the trumpet,” says Peplowski of his mentor. “He was an astounding virtuoso with incredible technique and a thorough knowledge of chords and rhythm: he did a lot of things harmonically that were way ahead of his time.” He learnt pretty well: Mel Tormé, another of the greats with whom Peplowski played, said of him “since the advent of Benny Goodman, there have been too few clarinetists to fill the void that Goodman left. Ken Peplowski is most certainly one of those few. The man is magic.”

Peplowski has the reputation, too, of being a great showman. Having played with the likes of Charlie Byrd, Peggy Lee, George Shearing and Walter Vache Jr, he’s had plenty of chance to pick up on how the greats perform. It is Goodman, however, who clearly had the biggest influence. “Benny was very demanding on the musicians and on himself,” continues Peplowski. “Part of the key to unlocking the enigma of him is that he thought about music 24 hours a day.” AL

Ken Peplowski: a good man in a clarinet crisis
Lewes Jazz Club, 139 the High St, Lewes
When? 7.30pm for 8.15pm
How Much? £10
Lewes Jazz Club
(t) 01273 477081
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