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Two Legends of Jazz

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Veteran pianist Johnny Varro and clarinetist Ken Peplowski are certainly two veterans of vintage early-period jazz, and join together in complete agreement as to how it should be correctly played on this set of swinging music that showcases an unconventional twist. This is not strictly a quartet date, also featuring legends in their own right like bassist Frank Tate and drummer Joe Ascione. One and/or the other rhythm mate drops out on several selections, providing an always interesting component of pacing, from duet and trio to the full quartet. Peplowski in particular is as brilliant a clarinetist as there is in modern times, his unwavering tone and wealth of ideas ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Veteran pianist Johnny Varro and clarinetist Ken Peplowski are certainly two veterans of vintage early-period jazz, and join together in complete agreement as to how it should be correctly played on this set of swinging music that showcases an unconventional twist. This is not strictly a quartet date, also featuring legends in their own right like bassist Frank Tate and drummer Joe Ascione. One and/or the other rhythm mate drops out on several selections, providing an always interesting component of pacing, from duet and trio to the full quartet. Peplowski in particular is as brilliant a clarinetist as there is in modern times, his unwavering tone and wealth of ideas shining through on every delicious track. Of course, the group collectively plays famous standard American popular songs the whole world knows and recognizes. It's not an energetic set, more laid-back and cool, but there's no reservation in playing this music faithfully, with the jazz tradition firmly in mind. The CD starts with two excellent trio tracks minus bass. "My Baby Just Cares for Me" was popularized by Nina Simone, and here is where Peplowski displays his total command of this uncomplicated melody, Varro dipping into stride on his solo, while "The Touch of Your Lips" seems almost too easy in the hands of these swing masters. Tate joins in for an unusual choice, Luiz Bonfá's quintessential but lesser known bossa nova "Menina Flor," while an interesting treatment of the quickened "Out of Nowhere" is the most energized and animated tune of the date, keeping the players and listeners on their toes. "Bluesette" is a tricky one, but the band interprets this most lyrical tune very well; Tate's strummed bass buoys the hardest swinger, "Secret Love"; the group dives headfirst into the wonderful Cole Porter hot jazz classic "I Love You" with full fervor; and improvisation is key during "Blues on 57th Street," a tune -- made up on the spot -- named after the street where the studio is located in New York City. A low-key piano/clarinet duo on "It's Easy to Remember" and Varro's solo version of "You're a Sweetheart" displays his love of stride piano, and the influence of his main man, Teddy Wilson. Varro stated that this session was "fun, comfortable, satisfying" and you'll wholeheartedly agree that it is from start to finish, a solid effort from four masters of classic mainstream jazz.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/14/2009
  • Label: Arbors Records
  • UPC: 780941136326
  • Catalog Number: 19363
  • Sales rank: 142,175

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Johnny Varro Primary Artist, Piano
Ken Peplowski Clarinet
Joe Ascione Drums, Guest Appearance
Frank Tate Bass, Bass Guitar, Guest Appearance
Technical Credits
Luiz Bonfá Composer
Benny Goodman Composer
Ken Peplowski Composer
Ray Noble Composer
Abe Lyman Composer
Jimmy McHugh Composer
Richard Rodgers Composer
Jerome Kern Composer
Louis Armstrong Composer
Jim Czak Engineer, Mastering
Walter Donaldson Composer
Sammy Fain Composer
Dorothy Fields Composer
Norman Gimbel Composer
Johnny Green Composer
Lorenz Hart Composer
Edward Heyman Composer
Gus Kahn Composer
Cole Porter Composer
Toots Thielemans Composer
Paul Francis Webster Composer
Scott Yanow Liner Notes, Author
Johnny Varro Composer, Producer, Audio Production
Maria Toledo Composer
Mat Domber Executive Producer
Rachel Domber Executive Producer
Harold Adamson Composer
Max Kester Composer
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