Concord Duo Series v3

         Recording Date:
               December 1992

              Howard Alden  G
              Ken Peplowski CL,TS


Reviewby Ken Dryden
Clarinetist Ken Peplowski and guitarist Howard Alden have a rare musical E.S.P. that enables them to weave intricate lines around each other as they soar through a great mix of overlooked standards and older jazz works on this live date. Peplowski's lyricism is stimulated by Alden's seemingly endless variations on "Blue Room," and the duo transforms "In the Dark" from a piano solo into an impressionist suite for their two instruments. But it is the spirited version of "Chasin' the Bird," complete with Peplowski's whimsical pun-filled introduction, that displays the depth of their playing. There is no loss of momentum when Peplowski switches to tenor sax. His vibrato-filled approach to "Changes" is reminiscent of Coleman Hawkins, while "S'posin'" highlights Alden's imaginative lines. The guitarist winds up the concert with stride-like guitar on "Just One of Those Things," which drives his partner's clarinet to a sizzling climax.

This review is from: Concord Duo Series Vol 3 (Audio CD)
Take Ken Peplowski, the best jazz clarinetist playing today; hook him up with Howard Alden, a masterful guitarist; give them a set of songs ranging from Jelly Roll Morton's "Why," to Lennie Tristano's "Two Not One," from Bix Beiderbecke's, "In the Dark," to Charlie Parker's "Chasin' the Bird;" put 'em in the Maybeck Recital Hall, (a redwood-lined performance space that barely seated 50 enthralled jazz lovers); and what do you get? You get this album!  Albums like this are the reason that record companies go to the trouble of recording live music. The musicians are "simpatico;" the playing is uniformly inventive and technically excellent; the song selection nigh on perfect; Messrs Peplowski and Alden and the audience have a great time; and the sonics, (courtesy of Concord's field recording team), are excellent. What's not to like? And hey, you just can't have too many clarinet/guitar duos in your CD collection.

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