I try to attend as many of the Jazz dates at Pete Carlson's Golf and Tennis Store as I can because I have never been disappointed in the high quality of the musicians that perform live for these events. The Ken Peplowski Quartet that performed on February 18, 2019 was certainly one of the best groups I have heard in the "Jazz for Jazz Lovers" series. First, the group was made up of seasoned Jazz veterans, Ken Peplowski and special guest Ron Stout who were joined by some younger but spectacularly talented professional musicians, Josh Nelson on Piano, Katie Thiroux on Bass and Matt Witek on Drums. For tonight's performance, Ken Peplowski picked some traditional Jazz tunes along with several songs from the "Great American Songbook".
Ken Peplowski is a giant in the Jazz world and for good reason. He is certainly one of the best Jazz Clarinet players performing today. Also, at Monday's performance, he proved he is one of the best Jazz Tenor Sax players also. You don't hear many Clarinet players these days but listening to Ken's warm tones was so wonderful that you had to be thinking, we need to hear more Clarinet sounds in the Jazz world. I know this is what I was thinking! Ken's improvising is just about perfect, it's creative, spontaneous, soft and simply beautiful!
Ken put together some suburb younger musicians in his Quartet, and he made sure that each member of his group had their time to shine. And shine they did starting with the remarkably talented Josh Nelson on Piano. I have had the pleasure of seeing Josh play several times in different venues and as good as he is, he seems to get even better each time I see him. Josh also makes an effort to help younger musicians by supporting them on live performances and on CD's. I see his name on many of the new CD's I review every month.
On Bass was Katie Thiroux, one of my favorite Bass players. I reviewed Katie's first, very successful CD on this site and encourage you to look-up the review up to find out more about Katie. Katie reminds me of my favorite all-time Bass players, starting with the great Ray Brown. She knows the importance of melody and when she improvises she makes sure that her creative lines never forget the melody. I think it puts her into a class of her own when it comes to Bass playing. Katie also has a unique voice and even though she did not sing tonight, you should check out her two CD's to hear her sing,
Matt Witek was on Drums tonight. I had never heard Matt play before but shortly after he started playing, any listener would realize he is a special player. Too many of today's Drummers think that loud is the only way to stand out. What a pleasure to hear a Drummer that works with sounds and understands the purpose and use of brushes. Matt used his hands several times to produce some great support for the group which was very enjoyable. In addition, the percussion section of Katie and Matt were perfect together.
Veteran Trumpeter Ron Stout was an announced special guest tonight, and he was indeed very special. I have heard Ron play many times and he is a treat. No drama here. Ron can solo anytime he is called; he understands Ballads and he never overshadows the other players in the band. If I had a band, Ron Stout would be the Trumpeter I would want to join me!
If you are in the Palm Springs area, Pete Carlson's is the best place for live Jazz with music events every week throughout the winter season.
I have attached a live video of the Ken Peplowski Quartet playing "I Wish You Love".