I don’t know if Benny Goodman “The King of Swing” ever performed at the original Birdland on Broadway at 52nd Street which was more known for the Bebop Jazz of Charlie Parker. However, his music was gloriously celebrated last night by John Pizzarelli and his special guest Clarinetist Ken Peplowski at the current Birdland on 44th Street. The link to the past was firmly established by the extraordinary artistry of Pizzarelli and Peplowski as they toured the Benny Goodman Songbook. The link was also established by the many stories both had about Benny Goodman. Ken Peplowski played in Benny’s last band, and John’s father Bucky was also was a featured guitarist with Goodman. In fact as John in his “Bucky Voice” recounted a funny story, when he was a youngster tagging along with Bucky John even got to strum a few notes for Benny Goodman until Bucky said “come on kid we gotta get home”! It was all smiles and happy swing music last night as John Pizzarelli and his trio with Ken Peplowski filled Birdland with great music and great conversation. The tradition of exceptional music continues at ‘The Jazz Corner of The World”
John Pizzarelli charms audiences with his warmth, sense of humor, and musical chops. Through his multi-faceted career as a jazz guitarist, vocalist and bandleader, the son of the legendary New Jersey native guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, has become one of the most recognizable faces and voices in contemporary jazz for his interpretations of classic standards, romantic ballads and the cool jazz flavor he brings to his performances and recordings. While maintaining a busy touring schedule, John also founded “Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli” a nationally syndicated radio program co-hosted with his wife, Broadway star Jessica Molaskey.
Ken Peplowski has recorded approximately 50 CDs as a soloist, and close to 400 as a sideman – some of the artists he’s performed/recorded with include Charlie Byrd, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops, Hank Jones, Peggy Lee, Bill Charlap, Woody Allen, Benny Goodman, and Madonna. He travels at least half of every year, playing clubs, concert halls, colleges, and pops concerts. He has headlined the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note, and Dizzy’s Club amongst many other venues. Ken’s CDs on the Capri label, “Noir Blue”, “In Search Of”, and “Maybe September” were released to great critical acclaim and massive airplay. He has recorded music as diverse as Italian and French folk songs, avant-garde jazz, pop, and classical music; he recorded the Darius Milhaud Clarinet Concerto with an orchestra in Sofia, Bulgaria, and was a featured soloist (playing Mozart) in 2015 at the Siletz Bay Music Festival in Oregon, where he will be premiering a new concerto in 2016, written for him by Dick Hyman. Ken was the musical director of the Oregon Festival Of American Music (OFAM) for eight years, and is a longtime performer/consultant to The Jazz Cruise, where he was elected into the Jazz Cruise Hall Of Fame in 2013.
(Full Article/photos on Broadwayworld.com)