“Whatever it is that we do, something I’ve never heard before happens when Ken and I improvise together. It’s a joy for me, even if a sort of mystery, and I look forward to each occasion. This recording documents a weekend we played at the Kitano Hotel in New York in 2012…. [O]ver the past 25 years or so we’ve often been featured together, usually with a rhythm section. Playing unaccompanied duets, however, is different. You have to know and trust your partner when you’re both improvising, you must prepare to be surprised, and you need to have a big supply of material in common in your head and your hands. Ken and I seem to have arrived at this point together in our parallel careers, and for me it’s a great pleasure.” —Dick Hyman
Dick Hyman & Ken Peplowski …Live at the Kitano highlights the musical mastery of two jazz greats who have an astounding ability to communicate with each other. Whether delivering show tunes, standards, or the blues, Hyman and Peplowski’s shared improvisational sense leads to countless breathtaking moments as the duo listens and reacts to each other. Exclaimed All About Jazz about the album’s lead track, “‘The Blue Room’… steadily builds a lively monument to their joint taste, technique, and telepathy.” Dick Hyman & Ken Peplowski …Live at the Kitano follows the duo’s 2009 release, E Pluribus Duo.
"Both men have deep respect for the tradition(s) of this music, but neither one looks at jazz as a museum piece; they both recognize that it's a living and breathing art form that's open to endless interpretation and variation, and they take full advantage of this fact here.... Hyman and Peplowski, who've played together with rhythm section backing on various occasions over the past quarter century, came to The Kitano to do it up duo-style for a weekend in 2012; what they delivered—and captured on record—is a gift to the world." -- All About Jazz
"Dick Hyman and Ken Peplowski Live At The Kitano may well be the finest duo recording released since the classic Stan Getz & Albert Dailey Blue Note recording Poetry from the mid 1980's... It doesn't get much better than this." -- Critical Jazz.com
"It’s a rip-roaring conjugation of standards that, in their hands, has lost none of the joy they instilled in jazz musicians going back before the Depression... Irrepressible musicians for whom all delight is joyfully contagious." -- Buffalo News
"this disc is one of those rare encapsulations of a relationship that seems to extend beyond the professional and well into the spiritual." -- Something Else Reviews
The CD features the following tracks:
1. The Blue Room (Lorenz Hart–Richard Rodgers—1926) is a standard song long used as a premise by jazz players. Hyman and Peplowski develop it as a fantasia involving an impressionistic, out-of-tempo opening and free flights of improvisation.
2. Gone With the Wind (Herbert Magidson–Allie Wrubel—1937) was decidedly not the theme music of the film that followed the immensely popular novel, but Dick Hyman remembers it as one of the first Art Tatum recordings he was dazzled by growing up in the ’30s.
3. I Mean You! (Coleman Hawkins–Thelonious Monk—1946) was co-written by a stylistically unlikely pair of jazz pioneers for a joint album. Hawkins was known in his lengthy career for embracing the goals of his younger colleagues and associating with great professional success with Monk and others founders of bebop.
4. Yellow Dog Blues (W.C. Handy—1914) celebrates Mississippi’s “Yellow Dog”—officially known as the Yazoo Delta Railroad. “Dog,” or “short-dog,” was railroad slang for a local or branch line. (Source: EarlyBlues.com) Peplowski and Hyman treat the venerable blues as a loping boogie-woogie vehicle.
5. Lucky to Be Me (Betty Comden–Adolph Green–Leonard Bernstein—1944) has entered the ranks of standards as one of the superior ballads, since its introduction in the Broadway score “On the Town.”
6. The World is Waiting for the Sunrise (Eugene Lockhart–Ernest Seitz—1919) is a Canadian contribution to the canon, first revived by Benny Goodman and Mel Powell in the ’40s. Hyman and Peplowski use their approach as a stepping-stone.
7. Ugly Beauty (Thelonious Monk—1967), somewhat re-harmonized, becomes in the hands of Hyman and Peplowski a surprisingly moving slow waltz.
8. My Ship (Ira Gershwin–Kurt Weill—1941) is from the Broadway score “Lady in the Dark.” It is presented here in the spirit of its original conception but with much improvised development.
9. Lover Come Back to Me (Oscar Hammerstein II–Sigmund Romberg) – Quicksilver (Horace Silver) features Silver’s melody written over the harmonic changes to “Lover Come Back to Me.” Peplowski plays tenor saxophone rather than clarinet.
About Ken Peplowski
“Mr. Peplowski sounds the way [Benny] Goodman might if he had kept evolving, kept on listening to new music, kept refining his sound, polishing his craft, and expanding his musical purview into the 21st century.” —Will Friedwald, The Wall Street Journal
An outstanding jazz clarinetist and saxophonist, Ken Peplowski has been delighting audiences for more than 30 years. Peplowski has recorded over 40 CDs as a soloist and close to 400 as a sideman. Some of the artists he has performed and/or recorded with include Charlie Byrd, Rosemary Clooney, Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops, Hank Jones, Peggy Lee, Bill Charlap, Woody Allen, Benny Goodman, and Madonna. He travels at least half of every year, playing clubs, concert halls, colleges, and pops concerts. He has headlined the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note, and Dizzy’s Club, among many other venues. Ken’s last two CDs on the Capri label, Noir Blue and In Search Of, were released to great critical acclaim and airplay.
Peplowski played his first pro engagement when he was in elementary school and continued performing all through high school. After a year of college, Peplowski joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Buddy Morrow. Peplowski met Sonny Stitt while on the road with the Dorsey band, and studied with him. In 1984, Benny Goodman came out of retirement and put together a new band, hiring Peplowski on tenor saxophone.
Peplowski is the current musical director of the Oregon Festival of American Music (OFAM) and is a longtime performer/consultant to The Jazz Cruise, where he was placed into the Jazz Cruise Hall of Fame in 2013. Peplowski is a Buffet Crampon artist and plays the R13 clarinet, with a Portnoy mouthpiece and Van Doren German-cut reeds. He also plays a Yamaha tenor sax and uses a Berg Larsen mouthpiece.
About Dick Hyman
A musician’s musician, Dick Hyman is a celebrated pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and composer. The New York Times has written that he “can do practically anything on a piano,” and National Public Radio has named him “a living, breathing, swinging encyclopedia of jazz.” Admired for his masterful improvisation and astounding versatility, he continues to perform frequently and widely. He has numerous film scores, orchestral compositions, and concert appearances to his credit. He has recorded over 100 albums under his own name and has performed on countless others.
Hyman embarked on his career in the 1950s, freelancing in New York City’s booming music scene. At the opening of the famed Birdland, he displayed his versatility by playing with both Lester Young, the reigning swing saxophonist, and Max Kaminsky’s Dixielanders. He was also heard at Bop City with Red Norvo, at Café Society with Tony Scott, and was a soloist at Wells’ Music Bar in Harlem and at The Composer on New York’s East Side.
During this period he accompanied Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie when they played together on a historic TV broadcast and served subsequently as pianist, organist, and conductor for the NBC staff orchestra. Following this, he became music director at CBS for the well-known radio and television personality Arthur Godfrey. Hyman has also enjoyed a prolific three-decade career as a studio musician, winning seven Most Valuable Player Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Some of the artists he has played with or arranged for include Barbra Streisand, André Kostelanetz, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Bette Midler, Johnny Mathis, Frankie Avalon, Aretha Franklin, Percy Faith, and, on one remarkable occasion, Igor Stravinsky.
His extensive concert performance schedule has spanned the globe, including tours of the U.S., Canada, Europe, the former Soviet Union, Japan, and Australia. In addition to appearances as soloist or music director, he has often collaborated with other pianists such as Derek Smith, Billy Taylor, Roger Kellaway, Ralph Sutton, Dick Wellstood, and Marian McPartland, and has been featured in concerts with trumpeter/conductor Doc Severinsen.
His film scoring accomplishments include an Emmy for his original score for Sunshine’s on the Way and another for musical direction of a PBS special on Eubie Blake. He has served as composer/arranger/conductor/pianist for over 10 Woody Allen films, including Zelig, Purple Rose of Cairo, and Everyone Says I Love You, and he scored the Oscar-winning film Moonstruck. In the dance field, his collaborations include composing and performing the score for the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet Company’s Piano Man and Twyla Tharp’s Bum’s Rush for American Ballet Theatre.
He was the original artistic director for the acclaimed Jazz in July series at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, serving in that capacity from 1984-2004. For many years he was also co-artistic advisor for the annual Oregon Festival of American Music. He was music director for In Performance at The White House during the administration of President George Bush Sr. and performed at The White House again during President Bill Clinton’s term. He is a member of the Jazz Hall of Fame of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies and the New Jersey Jazz Society.
Hyman’s groundbreaking Moog synthesizer albums of the late ’60s continue to have an impact. The Beastie Boys gave him a nod with the lyric “I’m electric like Dick Hyman” in their hit “Root Down.” Beck sampled Dick’s “The Moog and Me” in his song “Sissyneck,” and Busta Rhymes sampled “The Topless Dancers of Corfu” on his track “Where We Are About to Take It.” For more information, please visit dickhyman.com