May 24, 2024

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CD review: David Larsen – The Peplowski Project – 2023: Video, CD cover

The Peplowski Project (2023) is Larsen’s dream team album.

Larsen explains, “This project was a dream come true! I have always been a huge fan of straight-ahead jazz and the magical playing of Ken Peplowski. It was such a treat to spend time getting to know Ken and learning from the master. His ideas and direction helped bring the music to another level.” In planning the project with Ken, he suggested playing some great arrangements of Al Cohn compositions. Al Cohn was an incredibly popular arranger and composer in the 1950s, and David has always loved his music. Larsen furthers, “My compositions on this album mirror Cohn’s style and are complemented by the standards. We really tried to capture the magic of the great Al Cohn/Zoot Sims quintet, which originally recorded many of these compositions.”

The Peplowski Project, featuring clarinetist Ken Peplowski, is a mix of jazz standards and three originals by David Larsen. It takes its inspiration from the great straight-ahead jazz albums of the 1950s with arrangements by the great Al Cohn. The album was recorded in June of 2022 at the recording studio at Spokane Falls Community College. All with single takes with semi-isolation. The recording process was done with ribbon mics on the winds with condensers on the piano, bass, and drums. David Larsen hopes you enjoy this album as much as he did planning, playing, and recording it. It’s a next step in his ever-growing discography of tasteful and swinging offerings guaranteed to hook your ear.

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.”

I loved working with Ken. He is so gracious and funny. His insight to music has been amazing and he really adds a lot to the recording. I would simply say he has inspired me to work harder. This project makes me want to get out and record and perform more. I just finished recording with saxophonist Darryl Yokley and Trumpeter Delbert Anderson. Both of this albums go in a whole new direction for me so I am really excited to see how they are received. These albums focus on dance rhythms and hip hop grooves so it just new material for me,- an inteview with me said David Larsen.

We recommend that you definitely get this album, it’s a unique combination of two wonderful musicians and enjoy it.

1. All the Things You Are Jerome Kern (7:55)
2. Black Nightgown Johnny Mandel (6:18)
3. Doodle Oodle Bill Byers (4:28)
4. He Who Getz the Last Laugh David Larsen (4:57)
5. In a Sentimental Mood Duke Ellington (6:16)
6. Into the Mild David Larsen (6:20)
7. Jazz Line Blues Al Cohn (4:12)
8. Love Me or Leave Me Walter Donaldson (7:07)
9. On the Sunny Side of the Street Jimmy McHugh (6:02)
10. Tenor for Dinner David Larsen (5:29)
11. Two Funky People Al Cohn (4:25)

David Larsen – Baritone, Alto, Tenor Sax & Clarinet
Ken Peplowski – Clarinet & Tenor Sax
Jake Svendsen – Piano
Josh Skinner – Bass
Brendan McMurphy – Drums

Buy from here – New CD 2023

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