On her latest album, Claroscuro, the jazz clarinetist explores influences that range from Louis Armstrong to Brazilian music to that of her native Israel. It's the desire to adapt the instrument to so many musical traditions that has earned Cohen such acclaim.
Clarinetist Ken Peplowski. The 40-year old jazz musician, has been playing the instrument since the age of 7, and went on to play in Benny Goodman's last band, and in the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (led by Buddy Morrow). Peplowski influences include Goodman, saxophonist Sonny Stitt, the Beatles, and Ornette Coleman He launched a successful solo career in the early 1980s and now has 16 albums to his credit. His latest is "Ken Peplowski: Last Swing of the Century-Big Band Music of Benny Goodman" (Concord Jazz).
Jazz composer/clarinetist John Carter. He has just completed a five part music series chronicling the black migration experience from Africa to America: "Roots and Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music. The final program in the series, "Shadows on A Wall," premiered recently as part of the New Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The festival celebrates performers working on the edge of classical, rock, and jazz styles. Carter's performances are also out on disc.
Jazz clarinetist and alto and soprano saxophonist Bob Wilber. Wilber is also a composer and arranger; He arranged the music for the film "The Cotton Club." And he's just completed his autobiography. It's scheduled for release later this spring and is titled "Music Was Not Enough." This Saturday, Wilber will lead a tribute at Carnegie Hall to the late Benny Goodman, the king of the jazz clarinet. It's the 50th anniversary of Goodman's famed concert there.
Band leader Woody Herman. This interview was originally recorded in May, 1986. Herman, who died on Thursday, was the leader of numerous big bands, all variously called The Thundering Herd. His bands were noted for their dazzling improvisation combined with their incisive ensemble playing.
Clarinetist Kenny Davern takes a lot of inspiration from the small jazz bands of the 1920s and 1930s, although he has worked in contemporary and avant-garde jazz. Davern started playing professionally in the 1950s and has worked with many jazz legends. In the 1970s he played soprano saxophone with Bob Wilbur in the group Soprano Summit. He now plays clarinet exclusively. Davern is in town to perform, and joins the show to discuss his distaste for "Dixie Land" music, his musical influences, and career in jazz.