DICK HYMAN, who was born in 1927 and graduated from Columbia University in 1948, has worked as a pianist, organist, arranger, music director and composer throughout a long and busy musical career that got underway in the early 1950s. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in film scores, orchestral compositions, concert appearances and well over 100 albums recorded under his own name. While developing a masterful facility for improvisation in his own
piano style, Hyman has also investigated ragtime and the earliest periods of jazz and researched and recorded the piano music of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Eubie Blake and Fats Waller. Other solo recordings include the music of Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers and Duke Ellington.
Hyman’s early club engagements in New York included Café Society, playing with Tony Scott’s Quartet; Bop City with the Red Norvo Sextet; and various 52nd Street clubs with Sol Yaged and others. He began his recording and broadcasting career with Alvy West’s Little Band. He joined the NBC staff orchestra for five years in the 1950s, performed with Eddie Safranski’s morning radio show in addition to Milt DeLugg’s orchestra on the Morey Amsterdam Show, and was an organist on soap operas and game shows.
He became a freelance pianist, organist, arranger, composer, music director for many radio, television, and Broadway shows, for example, acting as music director for Arthur Godfrey for three years, as organist on the TV program “Beat the Clock” for five years and as arranger and orchestrator of the Broadway musical Sugar Babies. He served as music director for such television programs as Benny Goodman’s final appearance (on PBS) and for “In Performance at the White House.” Under contract to MGM Records, his hit recording of “Mack the Knife” from The Threepenny Opera was followed by many albums. He moved to Command Records, where his recording of “The Minotaur” on the Moog synthesizer landed on the Billboard charts in 1969.
Hyman’s original movie scores include Moonstruck starring Cher as well as many films for Woody Allen, including The Purple Rose of Cairo, Bullets Over Broadway and Stardust Memories. He also composed many commercials for Edel Music, and dance scores for Twyla Tharp, the Cleveland Ballet and others.
He has also been the arranger/music director/soloist for, among others, Count Basie, the Mills Brothers, Kay Starr, Margaret Whiting, Tony Bennett, Cozy Cole, Enoch Light, Ethel Ennis, Leonard Feather, Gail Garnett, Urbie Green, Roy Hamilton, Al Hirt, Bill Hayes, Jonah Jones, J.J. Johnson, Jessye Norman, Maxine Sullivan, Flip Phillips, Robert White, Doc Severinsen, Sandy Stewart, the Kirby Stone Four, Sam “The Man” Taylor and Barry Manilow. He was a frequent
guest with Jim Cullum’s Riverwalk Band in San Antonio and a soloist on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and accompanied Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie during their unique television appearance in 1951.
He served as pianist and organist for recordings by The Drifters, Ivory Joe Hunter, LaVern Baker, Pearl Bailey, Al Caiola, Tony Mottola, The Ray Charles Singers, Perry Como, The Four Lads, Georgia Gibbs, The Harmonicats, Neal Hefti, Billie Holiday, Quincy Jones, Joni James, Andre Kostelanetz, Johnny Mathis, Mitch Miller, Jane Morgan, Louis Prima, Perez Prado, Kate Smith, Joe Venuti, Bill Watrous and others. In 1975, he led the New York Jazz Repertory Company in a concert of the music of Louis Armstrong at Carnegie Hall, produced by George Wein. Recordings on Atlantic Records followed, as well as tours of Europe and numerous U.S. concerts. Duets and collaborations include recent work with, among others, Derek Smith, Ruby Braff and John Sheridan.
He is a frequent soloist for concerts with conductor Yaacov Bergman. Mr. Hyman’s concert compositions include two piano concerti, a clarinet concerto for Ken Peplowski, various chamber music pieces and many pieces for piano. He has been heard in “Three-Piano Crossover” with the late Marian McPartland and Ruth Laredo and in numerous pops concerts. He served as artistic director of the acclaimed Jazz in July series at New York’s 92nd Street Y for twenty years.
Hyman’s box set Century of Jazz Piano is a historical survey comprising 121 audio performances plus a disc of DVD instruction. Mr. Hyman has also had a prolific career in New York as a studio musician and has won seven “Most Valuable Player” awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He received an Emmy for his original score for the daytime drama “Sunshine’s on the Way” and another for musical direction of a PBS special on Eubie Blake. He is
a member of the Jazz Hall of Fame of the Rutgers Institute and the New Jersey Jazz Society. In 2017, Mr. Hyman received the Jazz Master Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as an honorary doctorate from the Julliard School of Music.
KEN PEPLOWSKI played his first professional engagement while still in elementary school in Cleveland, Ohio. He and his trumpet-playing brother Ted made many local radio and TV appearances and played for Polish dances and weddings virtually every weekend all through high-school. By the time Ken was in his early teens, he was experimenting with jazz by playing in the school “stage” bands and also jamming with many of the local jazz musicians.
After a year of college, Ken joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Buddy Morrow. Peplowski met Sonny Stitt while on the road with the Dorsey band and studied with him. In 1980, Ken moved to New York City and was soon playing in all kinds of settings, from traditional to avant-garde jazz. In 1984, Benny Goodman came out of retirement and put together a new band, hiring Ken on tenor saxophone. Peplowski signed with Concord Records and recorded close to 20 albums as a leader, including The Natural Touch in 1992 which won “Best Jazz Record of the Year” from the Prises Deutschen Schallplatten Kritiken, and The Other Portrait, recorded in Sofia, Bulgaria with the Bulgarian National Symphony, and highlighting Ken’s classical side. He also recorded two records on the Nagel Heyer label, Lost in the Stars and Easy To Remember, the latter featuring Bobby Short on his last recording. He has performed in venues from small clubs to the Hollywood Bowl, headlined in Las Vegas, the Newport Jazz Festival, pops concerts, European festivals and clubs, played at home in New York, and has done everything from playing on the soundtracks to Woody Allen movies to guest soloing on records including for Marianne Faithfull and Cuban vocalist Isaac Delgado to acting as music director for interactive French and Italian cookbooks (“Menus And Music”). The list of musicians with whom Ken has collaborated includes Mel Tormé, 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, Bill Charlap and Erich Kunzel. Ken is currently artistic director of the Sarasota Jazz Festival, the Newport Beach Jazz Party and the Newport, Oregon Jazz Festival. His latest album is Amizade, a duo recording with Brazilian guitarist Diego Figuereido, also on Arbors Records.
FREDERICK LOEWE (1901—1988) composed the scores for some of the American theater’s most memorable musicals, including My Fair Lady, Camelot, Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon and Gigi, all written with his lyricist-partner Alan Jay Lerner. A musical prodigy by age four, Fritz Loewe was born in Berlin to Austrian parents. His father was a renowned tenor who originated the role of Prince Danilo in The Merry Widow in 1906. Raised in the Viennese operetta tradition, Loewe studied in Berlin with famous pianist-composers Ferruccio Busoni and Eugen d’Albert and composer Emil von Rezniek. At 13, he was the youngest piano soloist ever to play with the Berlin Philharmonic and the sheet music for “Katrina,” a popular song Loewe wrote when he was 15, eventually sold over one million copies. In 1924, after touring the United States with his father, Loewe chose to stay in America intending to become a concert pianist and write for Broadway.
Instead, for the next decade, Loewe worked at a variety of odd jobs, including cattle punching, gold prospecting and prize fighting, as well as playing piano in clubs and in movie theaters accompanying silent films. During the 1930s, he contributed music to a number of Broadway revues and shows, none of which met with much success. In 1942, Loewe approached Lerner at the Lambs Club in New York to talk about collaborating on a show, and thus began one of Broadway’s most extraordinary and productive partnerships. Their first Broadway venture, What’s Up?, opened on Broadway in 1943 and ran for only 63 performances. It was followed two years later by The Day Before Spring, a moderate success which ran for 167 performances. In 1947, Lerner and Loewe had their first Broadway hit, Brigadoon, followed in 1951 by a second hit with Paint Your Wagon, which included such songs as “They Call the Wind Maria,” “I Talk to the Trees,” “Another Autumn” and “Wand’rin’ Star.” Both featured choreography by the legendary Agnes DeMille.
In 1956, My Fair Lady, starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews, opened on Broadway to universal acclaim. Often called “the perfect musical,” the show ran for 2,717 performances and the cast album sold more than five million copies. Their 1958 film musical, Gigi, won nine Academy Awards and in 1960 came their last great success, Camelot, with Richard Burton and Julie Andrews. In 1974, Lerner lured Loewe out of retirement to work on their last venture together: the film version of Antoine de St Exupéry’s The Little Prince. Brigadoon was presented in an all-star concert production at New York’s City Center in 2017 and an acclaimed Broadway revival of My Fair Lady just concluded a triumphant run at Lincoln Center Theater and is headed for a national tour.
ARBORS RECORDS was founded in 1989 by Rachel and Mat Domber (1928–2012) with the goal of recording and preserving classic styles of jazz. Though by profession a lawyer in New York with real estate interests in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida, Mat was, at heart, an ardent jazz fan, record collector and listener, beginning with his visits to Nick’s in Greenwich Village as a pre-teen. Arbors has, since the time of its first release, issued almost 450 CDs, featuring such artists as Bucky Pizzarelli, Dave Frishberg, Nicki Parrott, Ruby Braff, Bob Wilber, Harry Allen, Dan Barrett, Warren Vache, Bob Haggart, Rebecca Kilgore, Johnny Varro, George Masso, Bobby Gordon and Jacob Fischer, to name only a few. And while the label may have started with Dixieland, Arbors — now run by Mat’s widow and fellow jazz enthusiast and advocate Rachel Domber — currently embraces traditional, contemporary and classic jazz and the swing styles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. And, regardless of the era, all of its recordings have in common a reverence for talent and a love of melody, improvisation and swing. Arbors sponsors the Suncoas Jazz Classic in Clearwater Beach, FL.
DICK HYMAN & KEN PEPLOWSKI
“COUNTERPOINT LERNER & LOEWE”
1. Waitin’ for My Dearie (from Brigadoon)
2. I Could Have Danced All Night (from My Fair Lady)
3. They Call the Wind Maria (from Paint Your Wagon)
4. Gigi – Tenor Sax (from Gigi)
5. Gigi – Piano (from Gigi)
6. I Talk to the Trees (from Paint Your Wagon)
7. Almost Like Being in Love (from Brigadoon)
8. Follow Me (from Camelot)
9. On the Street Where You Live (from My Fair Lady)
10. You Haven’t Changed at All
(from The Day Before Spring)
11. Show Me (from My Fair Lady)
12. If Ever I Would Leave You (from Camelot)
13. A Jug of Wine (from The Day Before Spring)
14. Thank Heaven for Little Girls (from Gigi)
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