Maybe September

The clarinet’s place in jazz was established a century ago in New Orleans, where so many musicians flourished—among them Jimmie Noone, whose records a decade later influenced Benny Goodman, the instrument’s most famous player. Back then, it was a popular instrument whose ranks included Duke Ellington’s Barney Bigard, and Artie Shaw and Woody Herman (whose bands rivaled Goodman’s). Buddy DeFranco, Jimmy Giuffre and Anthony Braxton subsequently updated the clarinet in the intervening decades, but it’s rather languished since, although players like the 54-year-old Peplowski—who has recorded a couple of dozen records since 1987—have focused on it with considerable effect. Accompanied here by pianist Ted Rosenthal, bassist Martin Wind and drummer Matt Wilson, Peplowski and company interpret 11 tunes that range from the wistful title track to a rousing version of Ellington’s “Main Stem,” on both of which Peplowski plays tenor sax. The song selection follows “an arc of a relationship … destined for ultimate failure,” beginning with a lovely “All Alone by the Telephone,” and ending with Harry Nilsson’s evocative “Without Her,” a duet with Wind. Contrasting this forlorn mood is the bouncy “(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such As I.” Rosenthal contributes mightily throughout, especially on “Main Stem.” Very tasty work by all hands.