time Ken was in his early teens, he was
experimenting with jazz, playing in the school
"stage" bands, and also by jamming with many
of the local jazz musicians. "By the time I
hit high school, I was teaching at the local
music store, playing in our family band, and
playing jazz gigs around town while still
getting up early every day for school."
After a year of college, Ken joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Buddy Morrow. In 1980, Ken moved to New York City, and was soon playing in a variety of settings, from Dixieland to avant-garde jazz. "Everything's a learning experience in jazz music - there's always an element of the unpredictable." In 1984, Benny Goodman came out of retirement and put together a new band, hiring Ken on tenor saxophone. Peplowski wound up signing with Concord Records, under the tutelage of Carl Jefferson, the founder and president, and recorded close to 20 albums as a leader.
"What's in the future? "Who knows? I love all kinds of music, and I'd like to find more opportunities to bridge the gaps between different musical styles - I consider myself an interpreter of material - if something interests me, I try to put my own spin on it, without thinking or worrying about playing in any particular style. Basically, I like a challenge, I'm a sucker for a good melody, and I love playing for audiences, big or small."
And he has certainly achieved these goals, be it in small clubs, the Hollywood Bowl, headlining in Las Vegas, the Newport Jazz Festival, pops concerts, European festivals´ clubs, or at home in NYC doing everything from playing on the soundtracks to Woody Allen movies, to taking on the role of music director for interactive French and Italian cookbooks.
The litany of musicians Ken has collaborated with includes Mel Torme, Leon Redbone, Charlie Byrd, Peggy Lee, George Shearing, Madonna, Hank Jones, Dave Frishberg, Rosemary Clooney, Tom Harrell, James Moody, Cedar Walton, Houston Person, Steve Allen, Woody Allen, & Erich Kunzel.