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Terell Stafford and The Temple University Jazz Band, with Special Guest, Ken Peplowski, at Dizzy’s Club "Coca-Cola"
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Terell Stafford and The Temple University Jazz Band, with Special Guest, Ken Peplowski, at Dizzy’s Club "Coca-Cola"

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner: Arts and Education

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Terell Stafford
(Temple University - Stafford Page)
The Temple University Jazz Band
(Temple University Jazz Page)

Special Guest:
Ken Peplowski on Clarinet and Tenor Sax

Frederick P. Rose Hall
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Broadway at 60th Street
(Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website)
Roland Chassagne, Manager
Jason Olaine, Director of Programming & Touring
Desmond L. Prass, Asst. Manager
L.A. Thompson, Venue Manager, Great Performances
Zooey T. Jones, JALC Director, Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 25, 2016

Terell Stafford, renowned Grammy-winning trumpeter, who has been widely reviewed in events and recordings on these pages, led his Temple University Jazz Band, also known as Temple’s Big Band, tonight at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. Stafford is Chair and Professor of Temple’s Department of Jazz Studies. Ken Peplowski, the clarinet maestro, was Stafford’s special guest. This was a warm, inviting event, with the Temple University music community and parents of the musicians in the student band having dinner and drinks in the house. I attended the first set, and the room’s energy was energetically high. Throughout the exceptional set, numerous musicians presented solos on saxophones, trombones, drums, piano, guitar, vibes, and trumpet. From my vantage point, sitting at the bar in the back of the Club, I could see how cohesive and professionally trained this student group actually was. My only disappointment was not hearing the great Mr. Stafford on trumpet, but I’m sure he’ll be back with an ensemble in due time. The joy and pride on the students’ faces, as well as the obvious pride of their parents and the Temple University executive leadership in attendance, was noteworthy.

The set, a tribute to the Swing Era, opened with a flash of sax, guitar, and trumpet with pulse and ebullience. The 1934 “Wrappin’ It Up”, by Fletcher Henderson, included a wild trumpet solo, while “Three and One”, by Thad Jones, included a mature, beyond his years, trombonist’s flawless solo. Drums, bass, and piano kept the rhythms racing. This was an exuberant dance tempo filling the room, expanded with urban pizzazz. In fact, the band’s backdrop was a lush view of Central Park and the busy traffic of Columbus Circle. The student band included a vivacious vocalist, whose “Fly Me To the Moon” could have emanated from a 1950’s recording. “St. Louis Blues”, by W.C. Handy in 1914, brought out a soprano sax introduction to soaring vocals and a tenor sax solo. “Strike Up the Band”, by George Gershwin in 1927, included a chorus of saxes and trombones in an ingenious arrangement, passing the theme from drums to trumpets to vibes.

At this point, Ken Peplowski appeared, with his winning sense of humor, putting the student musicians at ease. Peplowski, who played in Benny Goodman’s final band, was rip-roaring on his tuneful, mesmerizing clarinet in Isham Jones’ 1924 tune, “The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else’. Right here Peplowski evoked the memory and sound of Benny Goodman. This artist is smooth, effervescent, and outstanding. Richard Rodgers’ 1938 tune, “Spring is Here”, opened with a student on flute, before Peplowski shared the elegant theme with the guitarist. Drums and muted trombone magnified the clarinet’s surreal poignancy. At times Peplowski’s clarinet evoked a violin, such is this man’s musical versatility. Neal Hefti’s 1957 “Duet”, a showcased interlude, preceded Frank Loesser’s 1950, rousing “If I Were a Bell”. Peplowski’s virtuosic solo blazed amidst the astounding sax contingent, along with bass, drums, and piano. When Peplowski switched to tenor sax, “Eternal Battle” ensued, kicking the set up numerous notches. Kudos to Terell Stafford and his Temple University Jazz Band, kudos to Guest, Ken Peplowski, and kudos again to each student musician and vocalist for such magnificent musicality. .

Terell Stafford and The Temple University Jazz Band
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Terell Stafford and The Temple University Jazz Band
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at