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Monday May 29, 2017
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Ken Peplowski

 

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clarinetist and saxophonist Ken Peplowski. A Cleveland native, he started performing in his brother's polka band but soon fell in love with jazz. His first major gig was with the Tommy Dorsey ghost band. In 1980 he moved to New York, and he has pursued a busy solo career ever since.

The two most popular swing era clarinetists were, of course, Bennie Goodman and Artie Shaw, and these were Peplowski's major models. Goodman and Shaw were stars, to be sure, but they were also both instrumental virtuosos with expressive, complex sounds. As a clarinetist, Peplowski could hardly avoid their influence: he eventually ended up playing tenor saxophone in one of Goodman's latter-day orchestras, and he has participated in many tributes to the King of Swing, who died two decades ago.

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