The late Mel Tormé said, "Since the advent of Benny Goodman, there have been too few clarinetists to fill the void that Goodman left. Ken Peplowski is most certainly one of those few. The man is magic. "The New York Times pronounced a concert of Ken's "Goodman Straight Up, With a Twist of Lightning." These quotes only hint at Ken Peplowski's virtuosity - not only is he an outstanding clarinetist and saxophone player, but he's also a charismatic entertainer who has been delighting audiences for over 30 years with his warmth, wit, and musicianship.
"When you grow up in Cleveland, Ohio, playing in a Polish polka band, you learn to think fast on your feet", says Peplowski, who played his first pro engagement when he was still in elementary school. "From my first time performing in public, I knew I wanted to play music for a living."
By the time Ken was in his early teens, he was experimenting with jazz by playing in the school "stage" bands, and also by jamming with many of the local jazz musicians. After a year of college, Ken joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Buddy Morrow.
In 1980, Ken moved to New York City, and was soon playing in all kinds of settings, from Dixieland to avant-garde jazz. In 1984, Benny Goodman came out of retirement and put together a new band, hiring Ken on tenor saxophone.
Ken also does many workshops for students of all ages- "My goal is to get the students to learn how to teach themselves, and to learn how to bring out their own best qualities; after all, jazz is about individuality-first you learn the rules, then you break them. I would like to think that I never stop learning, myself!"
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