This past January 16th marked the 80th anniversary of the Benny Goodman Orchestra’s ground-breaking appearance at Carnegie Hall, an event signaling that jazz was not just popular music, it was an art form befitting America’s premiere classical concert venue.
To commemorate the historic event, CapRadio presented a sold-out concert on Friday evening, January 19th at the Harris Center in Folsom featuring renowned clarinetist Ken Peplowski leading the Sacramento Jazz Orchestra.
Earlier that day Ken led a smaller group in a special concert for students at the Harris Center.
Ken and company demonstrated elements of swing and improvisation and talked about Goodman's important contributions to music and society.
The young people in attendance ranged in age from 4th graders to high school students. They had lots of questions for Ken: from "When did jazz begin?" to "Who's your favorite rapper?"
Ken's thoughtful responses kept the kids engaged, while the music the band performed kept everyone swinging, especially the closing number. As the Q&A period was wrapping up, a shy girl seated at the end of her row had one last question. Actually it was a request for "Sing, Sing, Sing." Ken and the sextet hadn't planned to play the popular tune, since its arrangement leans heavily on the full band and the horn section. But in the spirit of jazz, Ken whipped up a small-group version on the spot and the kids loved it.