THURSDAY, JUNE 14, IN BRIDGEPORT, WEST VIRGINIA
Chuck Redd and Ken Peplowski were in the house.
And as the first tap tap boom of Redd’s drums was joined by the first few notes from Peplowski’s clarinet, you understood moments later that something special was going on. You knew they were two of the most respected jazz artists in the world, but hearing them play together was enlightening.
As the song progressed, eyes strayed to the bass player, Lars Swanson, as he kept things grounded and on time, and then to young Brian Donaldson, a WVU music student and piano player for The Bop, who was sitting in on this night in Mia Margherita Coal Fired Pizzeria’s private dining room.
Chuck Redd and Ken Peplowski
Swanson is very well respected and well known and his playing on this night was exemplary, special in some way. So good, in fact, that both Peplowski and Redd mentioned it later that night, and the next day. Donaldson is a very fine piano player, but as a student, his reputation is not as well defined or or as well developed. Nevertheless, his playing during THIS gig was extra good, noticeable, hot.
It was then that it hit me.
Greatness doesn’t exist in and of itself. Greatness must inspire.
That is what was happening on stage for all to witness.
Peplowski and Redd were doing what they do.
The younger players had entered a realm of which they may not even be aware, but one that found them in the presence of greatness.