Ken Peplowski – Enrapture – Capri

Ken Peplowski – Enrapture – Capri 74141-2, 53:27 ****:

The band has tons of experience and each of the players knows how to connect with each other for a harmonic musical experience.

(Ken Peplowski – clarinet, tenor saxophone; Ehud Asherie – piano; Martin Wind – bass; Matt Wilson – drums, percussion)

Finding a musical “hook” in today’s crowded CD releases is no easy matter. However it appears that Ken Peplowski has done so with his release Enrapture. By bringing together a set-list of mostly lesser-known numbers, from a diverse group of composers, he and his cohorts have found a musical story worthy of telling.

Opening with a 1940s composition from Duke Ellington entitled “The Flaming Sword” the Latin-flavoured number is done in an up-tempo fashion with Peplowski featured on clarinet that is perfectly suited to the theme of the tune. Drummer Wilson lays down the intricate rhythm necessary to move the song along, and pianist Ahud Asherie acquits himself with style. In 1957, Leo McCarey directed An Affair To Remember , a love story starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. The title tune was sung over the opening credits by Vic Damone. Here it is done as mid-tempo ballad with Peplowski on tenor sax demonstrating his strong lyrical foundation. Bassist Wind delivers an authoritative solo.

Peplowski’s attachment to music from the movie continues with “Vertigo Scene D’Amour/Madeleine (Love Music from Vertigo) “ written principally by Bernard Herrmann for the Alfred Hitchcock classic Vertigo starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. This redolent and emotive theme is perfectly suited to Peplowski’s clarinet as he delves into the corners of the composition with persuasive effect.  Noel Coward was a prolific playwright , author and composer. Among his many plays, he wrote Conversation Piece, which opened in London in 1934 and had “I’ll Follow My Secret Heart” as one of the signature compositions. Largely ignored by today’s crop of singers, Peplowski uses his clarinet to full authority with a graceful and melodic version of the number.

Finally, the title tune “Enrapture” was written by the enigmatic and under-appreciated pianist Herbie Nichols. The composition is much along the lines of Thelonious Monk’s numbers with its quirky phrases and dissonant chords. It nevertheless gives Peplowski and the band plenty of room to show their imaginative bent, with drummer Matt Wilson deftly propulsive throughout the number. This band has tons of experience, and each of the players knows how to connect with each other for a harmonic musical experience.

TrackList: The Flaming Sword; An Affair To Remember; Oh, My Love; Cheer Up, Charlie; I’ll Follow My Secret Heart; Enrapture; Twelve; Vertigo Scene D’Amour/Madeleine (Love Music From “Vertigo”); When October Goes; Willow Tree

—Pierre Giroux

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