BRUNSWICK – The Maine Jazz Alliance will present clarinetist and tenor sax virtuoso Ken Peplowski and the Jim Howe Trio Saturday, April 23, at the First Parish Church. A member of Benny Goodman’s last working orchestra, Peplowski casts a long shadow with more than 16 critically acclaimed albums on the Concord Jazz label. He has been favorably compared to Benny Goodman, with the New York Times describing him as “Goodman Straight up with a Twist of Lightning.”

Peplowski is always a top contender in Downbeat Magazine and JazzTimes critics and readers polls. He tours the globe performing in the top jazz clubs, arts centers and symphony and at jazz festivals worldwide.

Born May 23, 1959 in Cleveland, Ohio, Peplowski began his professional career at age 9 making local radio and television appearances. In 1979, he joined the Tommy Dorsey Band and has been wowing critics for more than 20 years. Peplowski left Cleveland for New York City in 1980, and was soon busy performing and recording with musicians as diverse Mel Torme, Charlie Byrd, Peggy Lee, George Shearing, Tom Harrell, Hank Jones, Leon Redbone, Woody Allen, Erich Kunzel and Rosemary Clooney, before joining Benny Goodman’s band in 1984.

Peplowski has been a featured performer with the American Jazz Orchestra and has appeared at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. He is well known for his extensive and award-winning discography and currently tours 12 months of the year in Europe, Brazil, England, Mexico and Japan.

The Jim Howe Trio, led by bassist Jim Howe, will provide the rhythm section for the April 23 program. Howe has spent a life-time playing, living and teaching jazz. He has performed with some of the best jazz musicians in the world, including Art Farmer, Clark Terry, Herb Pomeroy, Phil Woods and Dave McKenna. He has released two critically acclaimed albums on the Invisible Music label; and in 2001 the Jim Howe Trio won the Spotlight on the Arts critic’s choice award as best jazz act.

Rounding out the Jim Howe Trio are Ryan Parker on piano and Les Harris Jr. on drums. Pianist, recording artist and educator, Parker is an instructor at the University of Southern Maine, where he teaches improvisation, jazz history, jazz piano and small group ensembles. He maintains a busy performance schedule, performing regularly in the New England area with such artists as Gray Sargent, Les Harris Jr., Jim Howe, Ralph Norris and Dick Johnson.

Harris began playing drums at a young age under the tutelage of his father. He was sitting in with jazz greats Herb Pomeroy, Bob Wilber, Dave McKennna, John LaPorta and Teddy Wilson by the time he was 14. Harris has toured with the Artie Shaw Orchestra, with tenor saxophone great Scott Hamilton, and worked with Diana Krall and her trio in Boston in the early ’90s. In 2001, he toured with Moxie, featuring Cheryl Bentyne, Janis Seigel and Laurel Masse of The Manhattan Transfer, performing at the famed Birdland jazz club in New York City.

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