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Howard Alden & Ken Peplowski: Pow-Wow

- CD Reviews

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Howard Alden & Ken Peplowski: Pow-Wow
(Alden Website)
(Peplowski Website)

Howard Alden on Guitar and Ken Peplowski on Clarinet

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 7, 2008

This CD is a selection of renowned and a few lesser known ballads, arranged for clarinet and guitar duos, and performed by the very professionally seasoned Ken Peplowski and Howard Alden. The musical chemistry is obvious, as each leads, follows, or joins the other with perfected eloquence. There are even generous solos or solo tracks that feature the tremendous talents of these two prolific artists.

Notable tracks:

#1 – Pow-Wow – Composed by Joe Puma. With a contagious swing rhythm, Alden and Peplowski breeze through alternating takes on this melodic theme. There are whispery soaring notes on Peplowski’s clarinet and rapid fingering passages on Alden’s guitar that evoke the Django Reinhardt genre, one of Alden’s specialties. The tonal combinations are upbeat and unique.

#4 – Very Early – Composed by Bill Evans. While showcasing the interpretive strengths of the duo, this track allows for mesmerizing melodies on both instruments. This music begs to be heard over and over for its natural and fluid nuance. Alden and Peplowski follow one another seamlessly, sometimes overlapping with complimentary phrasing.

#8 – I See Your Face Before Me – Composed by Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz. This is Ken Peplowski’s solo clarinet track, and he captivates the listener with rapturous resonance and poignant ornamentations. The arrangement re-configures the ballad with classically infused stylings, while highlighting its central theme.

#10 – The Land of the Loon – Composed by Eastwood Lane. This is Howard Alden’s solo guitar track, and his strings transport the listener to a moonlit forest lake. The meandering and melancholy theme is so much more persuasive with this uncluttered, musical soliloquy.

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