Speak No Evil Jazz blog

Capital Public Radio's discussion of an art form born in America and celebrated worldwide.

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Area Students Treated To Swinging Matinee Concert With Ken Peplowski

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Clarinetist Ken Peplowski leads a small group through a program of tunes associated with the King of Swing, Benny Goodman, at the Harris Center in Folsom.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

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. 

Student Matinee 1Ken Peplowski and his jazz sextet at the Harris Center in Folsom (Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio)

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. 

Student Matinee 5Ben Kopf, Rick Lotter, Chuck Redd, Ehud Asherie and Ken Peplowski perform for students at the Mondavi Center. (Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio)

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?"

Student Matinee 2Ken Peplowski performs a duet with pianist Ehud Asherie for a student audience at the Harris Center. (Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio)

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. 

Student Matinee 4Pianist Ehud Asherie takes a solo while Ken Peplowski looks on. (Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio)

Student Matinee 3Ken Peplowski is joined on stage by guest trumpeter Aaron Smith, a recent graduate of Sacramento State. (Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio)

Student Matinee 6Drummer Rick Lotter and bassist Ben Kopf perform with Ken Peplowski at the Harris Center. (Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio)

Student Matinee 7Renowned vibraphonist Chuck Redd is featured in the small group lead by Ken Peplowski at the Harris Center. (Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio)

 Benny GoodmanCelebrating Benny Goodman

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