The Peplowski Project – David Larsen & Ken Peplowski (ENG review)

The Peplowski Project – David Larsen & Ken Peplowski (FR review)

No, you won’t have the pleasure of hearing explosive jazz like the excellent musicians Céline Bonacina or David Krakauer here. Everything here is classical, even ultra-classical, with a dive into the 1950s. While it’s not the type of jazz that Bayou Blue Radio defends, it must be admitted that the clarinet and saxophone, especially the baritone, are rarely in the spotlight, which makes us want to talk about this album.

The Peplowski Project (2023) is Larsen’s dream album. Larsen explains, “This project was a dream come true! I’ve always been a big fan of straight-ahead jazz and Ken Peplowski’s magical playing. It was a real pleasure to spend time getting to know Ken and learning from the master. His ideas and direction helped take the music to another level.”
When planning the project with Ken, he suggested playing great arrangements of Al Cohn’s compositions. Al Cohn was an incredibly popular arranger and composer in the 1950s, and David has always loved his music. Larsen adds, “My compositions on this album reflect Cohn’s style and are complemented by standards. We really tried to capture the magic of the great Al Cohn/Zoot Sims quintet, who originally recorded many of these compositions.”
In fact, this album will primarily appeal to people who have a soft spot for this style of jazz. From our point of view, it’s also an album that can interest jazz students who are just starting out, as it’s a great way to capture the chords and spirit of an era, which will always be useful to them.
The Peplowski Project, featuring clarinetist Ken Peplowski, is a mix of jazz standards and three original compositions by David Larsen. It’s inspired by the great straight-ahead jazz albums of the 1950s with arrangements by the great Al Cohn. The album was recorded in June 2022 at the Spokane Falls Community College recording studio. Everything was recorded in one take with semi-isolation, and it’s hard to tell which are the original tracks when listening.
As for the Bayou Blue Radio reviews, we classify this album as “Good.” If we were in the 1950s, we might have classified it as “Indispensables.”

Thierry De Clemensat
Correspondent in USA
Bayou Blue News – Bayou Blue Radio – Paris-Move

PARIS-MOVE, April 25th 2023


Order the CD here