KEN PEPLOWSKI - MAYBE SEPTEMBER
Master clarinetist and saxophonist Ken Peplowski's Maybe September featuring an A-list band with pianist Ted Rosenthal, bassist Martin Wind and drummer Matt Wilson, Ken Peplowski's new CD is a mainstream treasure. Maybe September brings together bedrock composers including Irving Berlin, Harry Warren, and Percy Faith; the jazz titans, Duke Ellington and Artie Shaw; and pop giants Brian Wilson, Nilsson, and the unparalleled team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, while also finding space for the celebrated French composer, Francis Poulenc ("Romanza" from his Sonata for clarinet and piano) and the less celebrated Bill Trader ("Now and Then). There's a Fool Such As I" - a hit for both the C&W stalwart Hank Snow, and later, the legendary Elvis Presley.
ALI RYERSON JAZZ FLUTE BIG BAND - GAME CHANGER
Working in tandem with sympathetic arrangers including Michael Abene, Mike Wofford and Bill Cunliffe, Ryerson directs a 16-flute section bolstered by such prominent stylists as Jaime Baum and Ryerson herself, as well as such celebrated guest soloists as Hubert Laws, Nestor Torres and Holly Hofmann. By taking on such cherished jazz compositions as "Stolen Moments," "Impressions," "Con Alma," "Lil' Darlin'" and "Daahoud," the JFBB proves that, in the right hands, a cadre of flutes can have the power, force and drive of a conventional horn-driven ensemble. In that respect, the album is indeed a game changer.
COLORADO CONSERVATORY FOR THE JAZZ ARTS - HANG TIME
If Greg Gisbert and Eric Gunnison are the most recognizable names associated with Hang Time - the new recording by the ensembles of the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts - that's perfectly understandable. While Gisbert is a widely admired trumpeter with numerous albums that carry his credit, and Gunnison is an accomplished pianist who has worked with the likes of Carmen McCrae and The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band and a respected Denver-based educator, the other members of the two CCJA bands featured on Hang Time are comprised of student musicians who have yet to make established names for themselves. Hang Time is yet more hard evidence that jazz is still issuing a siren's call to young players, and that the music remains brimming with promise.