David Larsen • The Peplowski Project

David Larsen • The Peplowski ProjectIt takes a brave and very skilled saxophonist to want to share a frontline with Ken Peplowski. After all, Peplowski has been one of the top swing-based clarinetists and tenor-saxophonists in jazz since the mid-1980s. However David Larsen, who is based in the Pacific Northwest, proves to be equal to the task on his album which he calls The Peplowski Project.

Larsen is the director of instrumental studies at Spokane Falls Community College and had previously led four albums of his own including a tribute to baritonist Gerry Mulligan called The Mulligan Chronicles. For this set with Peplowski, Larsen plays baritone, alto, tenor and a bit of clarinet in a quintet that includes pianist Jake Svendsen, bassist Josh Skinner and drummer Brendan McMurphy.

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Ken Peplowski contributed some Al Cohn arrangements that he had, some of which had been originally featured in a two-tenor matchup that Cohn had with Zoot Sims. Larsen brought in three swinging originals (“He Who Getz The Last Laugh,” “Into The Mild,” and “Tenor For Dinner”) and the quintet performs some lesser-known material (including Johnny Mandel’s “Black Nightgown”) and a few standards including “All the Things You Are,” “Love Me Or Leave Me,” and a version of “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” based on a Dizzy Gillespie recording.

The music is very much in the vein of 1950s mainstream jazz. With Larsen heard on four horns and Peplowski on his two, there is plenty of variety in the sound of the group with many fine solos from the two horns and pianist Svendsen. It all works quite well and is easily recommended to anyone who enjoys swinging jazz.

The Peplowski Project

UpBeat Records

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for AllMusic.com. He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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