Ken Peplowski is one of the world’s greatest living clarinetists, leading a talented quartet, that includes pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Katie Thiroux, and drummer Matt Witek. Doubling on the tenor sax, Peplowski’s range covers swing, mainstream jazz, dixieland, pop, folk, and classical music. Ken’s silky, agile, flawless ability on both reed instruments can be heard on his entertaining playing of the Great American Songbook. Peplowski grew up in Cleveland, Ohio playing in Polish Polka Bands at dances and weddings, learning to think fast on his feet, learning to improvise, playing different chord changes, like learning to swim by being thrown into the water. Ken played in school stage bands, with local jazz musicians, his family’s band, and taught at the local music store. One year into college, Ken joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Buddy Morrow, and played one-nighters every day for 48 weeks in a year. Then Ken studied with saxophonist Sonny Stitt, and moved to N.Y. City, playing everything from Dixieland to Avant Garde Jazz. Next, Peplowski joined Benny Goodman’s Band on saxophone, played with The Bulgaria Symphony Orchestra, recorded with vocalist Bobby Short, and has played Jazz Festivals, Clubs, Concert Halls, Colleges, and Jazz Cruises in the U.S. and abroad. Peplowski has collaborated with many great artists that include Mel Torme, Leon Redbone, Charlie Byrd, Scott Hamilton, Harold Alden, Spike Robinson, Tommy Newsom, Peggy Lee, George Shearing, Kenny Davern, Madonna, Hank Jones, Suzanna McCorkle, Dave Frishberg, Rosemary Clooney, Tom Harrell, James Moody, Cedar Walton, Houston Person, Steve Allen, Bill Charlap, Woody Allen, Marianne Faithful, Issac Delgado, Erich Kunzel, Jay Leonbart, Ted Rosenthal, Grady Tate, Eddie Higgins, Carol Welsman, Cheryl Bentyne, Nicki Parrott, Katie Thiroux, and numerous others. Ken received the “Satchmo Award” at the Sarasota Jazz Festival, the Hothouse House Magazines “Fans Decision Jazz Award “ on Clarinet, and was elected to the “Jazz Cruise” Hall of Fame.
Josh Nelson is a talented pianist, composer, and bandleader who plays with an urbane virtuosity and bluesy tradition of Oscar Peterson and Gene Harris, that is a clean-burning modern mode of Jazz. Nelson toured with Natalie Cole for 6 years, and with Gaby Moreno, Freda Payne, Alicia Olatuja, Sara Garazek, Richard Galliano, Tom Scott, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson,and Christian Howes. Josh has worked with Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, Benny Golson, Shiela Jordan, John Clayton, George Mraz, Joe Chambers, Peter Erskine, and many others. Nelson has taught at Soka University, and Cal State Northridge, was a semi finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, and has 9 recordings as a leader.
Bassist Katie Thiroux is a talented vocalist, composer, and bandleader. Katie received the Best Album Award from DownBeat Magazine in 2017, and was a semi finalist in the Thelonious Monk Competition. Thiroux is a hard swinging bassist like Ray Brown, and her mentor John Clayton. Katie sings with finesse like vocalists Anita O’Day, Chet Baker, and Ella Fitzgerald and has a unique gift of being able to simultaneously sing and play the bass. Playing Swing to Be-Bop and Beyond, Thiroux’s sultry vocals and virtuosic bass playing Quincy Jones says “This Girl Is It”. Katie learned the violin at the age of 4, and switched to the bass at the age of 8. She studied Jazz and Classical vocals, and performed with the L.A. Opera, and Opera Pacific at the age of 10. Influenced by vibist Lionel Hampton , Thiroux studied with vocalist Tierney Sutton and received the L.A. Jazz Society Award, “Shelly Manne New Talent”. Katie received the Phil Ramone Presidential Scholarship to Berklee College of Music, later received her Masters degree at Cal State University, Long Beach, and has played with Larry Fuller,Justin Kauflin, Bill Cunliffe, Geri Allen, Helen Sung, Tamir Hendelman, Eric Reed, Brian Lynch, Terrell Stafford, Jeff Clayton, Charles McPherson, Mundell Lowe, Larry Koonse, Teri Lyne Carrington, Lewis Nash, Jeff Hamilton, Patti Austin, Niki Harris, and Tierney Sutton. Thiroux has played over 40 venues in 15 different countries, and over 60 venues in the U.S. Katie conducts music workshops, has recorded 2 albums as a leader, and played as a sideman with several artists.
Drummer Matt Witek attended Berklee College of Music, and received a Masters degree in music at Cal State University, Long Beach. Matt has studied with drummer Jeff Hamilton, and has toured with John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Ken Peplowski, Larry Fuller, Justin Kauflin, Graham Dechter, Katie Thiroux, and played with John Clayton, Russell Malone, Houston Person, Ralph Moore, Scott Hamilton, Eric Reed, Barbara Morrison, Harry Allen, James Morrison, Larry Koonse, Anthony Wilson, Shelly Berg, Tony Monaco, Tamir Hendelman, Bill Cunliffe, Rosanno Sportielo, Chick Redd, Ben Wolfe and numerous artists. Witek has been a sideman on several Capri Record recordings, and played Jazz venues and festivals with the Big Bands of Woody Herman, Frank Tiberi, and Roger Neumann.