Enrapture by Ken Peplowski
Capri Records, Ltd. #74141-2
Ken Peplowski assembled his team-mates for this charming CD and chose a variety of tunes, some of which are outside the usual jazz repertoire. His musical associates were pianist Ehud Asherie, bassist Martin Wind, and drummer/percussionist Matt Wilson. Of course, likely all who read this column already know that Ken is clarinetist/saxophonist of great talent and renown.
In order for the reader to appreciate the diversity of music on this CD, the titles and composer/lyricist are listed.
The Flaming Sword (Duke Ellington)
An Affair to Remember (Harry Warren/Leon McCarey/ Harold Adamson)
Oh, My Love (John Lennon/Yoko/ Ono)
Cheer Up, Charlie (Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley)
I’ll Follow My Secret Heart (Noel Coward)
Enrapture (Herbie Nichols)
Twelve (Peter Erskine)
Vertigo Scene D’Amour (Bernard Hermann)/Madeline (Love Music from “Vertigo”)
When October Goes (Barry Manilow/Johnny Mercer)
Willow Tree (Thomas “Fats” Waller/ Andy Razaf)
Peplowski explained, “A year or so of sifting through material, a year or so of playing with these great musicians and very little time in the studio; we really wanted to approximate what we do in the clubs. This is us, in as close to a live setting as one could ask for in a recording environment—every song is pretty much one take—we just like to capture the spontaneity and interplay of four people who enjoy making music together.”
For the musical cognoscenti, Peter Erskine’s “Twelve” is explained by Peplowski: “…a twelve-tone row based on the standard ‘Easy to Love’…This is an example of us doing a kind of collective improvisation, something this quartet has become quite adept at—this was not even rehearsed, just ‘talked through’ by me—one take and that’s that!”
I was intrigued about the background of “When October Goes” credited to Barry Manilow and Johnny Mercer. With some research I learned that toward the end of Mercer’s life, he and Manilow became close. After Johnny’s death, his widow Ginger offered some of Johnny’s unpublished lyrics to Manilow, who composed the tune to fit Mercer’s lyrics.
One other item which intrigued me, the photo on the cover shows an unusual bridge taken at the level of a pedestrian with skyscrapers in the distance. I puzzled over the significance of the cover photo and the title of the CD. I inquired of Tom Burns of Capri Records and learned that the significance was only tangential. It’s a photo of the Brooklyn Bridge taken by Des McMahon, a friend of Pep’s.
Jazz writer Will Friedwald has described the musician as such: “Peplowski sounds the way (Benny) Goodman might if he had kept evolving, kept on listening to new music, kept refining his sound, polishing his craft, and expanding his musical purview into the 21st century.”
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