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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Capri 74141-2



1. The Flaming Sword

2. An Affair To Remember

3. Oh, My Love

4. Cheer Up, Charlie

5. I'll Follow My Secret Heart

6. Enrapture

7. Twelve

8. Vertigo Scene D'Amour/Madeleine (Love Music From Vertigo)

9. When October Goes

10. Willow Tree.

Ken Peplowski - Clarinet, tenor sax

Ehud Asherie – Piano

Martin Wind – Bass

Matt Wilson – Drums, percussion

This CD opens with a vigorous Duke Ellington composition only recorded two or three times by Duke in the 1940s. Drummer Matt Wilson supplies a tinge of Latin America on the tom-toms, and there are some lively solos to start the album off. However most tracks are slower than this, giving the band a chance to be gently sentimental. Peplowski seems to like poignant songs, such as themes from the films An Affair to Remember and Vertigo.

The choice of material for the album is remarkably eclectic, including pieces by John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Herbie Nichols, and Barry Manilow. There is even a song from the film Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Cheer Up, Charlie, which Ken describes in his sleeve-note as “one of those heart-on-your-sleeve songs that have always appealed to me”. In complete contrast there is Twelve, written by Peter Erskine on a twelve-tone row and based on Easy to Love. Peplowski’s swirling tenor saxophone dispels any difficulties in choosing a tune inspired by Arnold Schoenberg. He is well supported by pianist Ehud Asherie, who even quotes Easy to Love in his solo, intertwined with the tenor sax.

The title-track was written by Herbie Nichols, although he never recorded it. It has the same sort of twists and turns you might expect from Nichols. Ken and his group perform it with loving care, allowing quite a few drum breaks along the way. And Ehed Asherie slides into stride piano briefly. Like many of the other tracks on this album, it’s a gentle mid-tempo number. The Flaming Sword and Twelve are the only really fast tracks.

Oh, My Love is a delicate duet between clarinet and double bass. I’ll Follow My Secret Heart is a tender ballad – simply performed by clarinet and piano. And Willow Tree was penned by Fats Waller – a beautiful melody, beautifully played.

With this CD, Ken Peplowski again displays his total control of both clarinet and tenor sax. He deserves praise for finding songs outside the usual repertoire. He and his group perform them with appropriate care and suitable tempos for each tune. The album has a relaxed feeling, arising from what Ken describes as “every song pretty much one take”, with the familiarity that comes from playing these tunes in clubs and concerts for several months. Highly recommended.

Tony Augarde

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