–George Kanzler/Newark Star-Ledger
Saxophonist/composer Mike Kaplan has been arranging and performing music for jazz nonet since the ’80s.
The unique combination of post-bop burning, deep-down funk, sassy large ensemble clout and open-ended soloing on the Mike Kaplan Nonet’s cd “How’s That?” has captivated club and concert audiences, jazz reviewers, disc jockeys and their radio audiences. The Nonet consists of a 6 man strong horn section (featuring 2 trumpets, trombone and 3 saxists/reed players) and a rhythm section consisting of piano, bass and drums. A set by the Nonet could include Swing, Latin Jazz, Jump, New Orleans Funk/Jazz/2nd line, Post Bop and much more, all filtered through the 21st Century sensibilities of the members of the band.
In addition to Kaplan’s compositions, the Nonet’s diverse book includes his (and other bandmembers’) arrangements of material ranging from Jelly Roll Morton through George Adams. Nonet reinterpretations of the music of the greats such as Ellington, Mingus, Monk, Shorter, Waller, Gillespie and others are also prominently featured along with gems from the Great American Popular Songbook done for 9 piece band.
The Nonet has a stable personnel with strong, exciting and unique soloists who are all prominently featured throughout the band’s performances. Many of the bandmembers also contribute their own arrangements and compositions to the Nonet, adding even more diversity to the music the band performs.
For the last 2 years running, the Mike Kaplan Nonet has played to full houses at Trumpets for their last Sunday of the year “Salute To Cedar Walton”, the great pianist/composer who passed on in August 2013. See us before then…. Sunday September 20th at 4pm for a wide ranging 2 sets worth of music!
Mike Kaplan – tenor sax/arranger
Rob Henke & Bill Mobley – trumpet/flugelhorn
Pete McGuinness, alternating with Ben Williams – trombone
Anton Denner – alto sax/clarinet/flute
Ed Xiques – baritone sax/soprano sax/bass clarinet
Matt King – piano/keyboard
Mike Karn – bass
Pete MacDonald – drums
“How’s That” will reward any listener that dons a headset or cranks a speaker.
Kaplan’s debut album contains tasty musical surprises, invigorating changes in mood and tempo, funk aplenty and is an entry that’s definitely worth the effort to find.
The Mike Kaplan Nonet offers engaging material presented in a precise yet free-fl owing fashion delivered with vigor and feeling.
–Zan Stewart/Newark Star Ledger
Little big bands are suddenly back in the limelight due to the devotion of bandleaders such as Jim Cifelli, Bill Kirschner, Mike Kaplan, Rob McConnell and Russ Gershon.
–James Hale/Downbeat Magazine
Exciting listening that is quite refreshing. “How’s That?” is a CD that will remain on rotation at our radio station.
–Tony Bates/3WBC FM 94.1 (Box Hill, Victoria, Australia)
Since its release, “How’s That?” has been played on jazz radio stations and shows across the country from WBGOFM i n Newark, NJ to KIPO-FM in Honolulu, Hi. It’s also received airplay and plaudits internationally in locales ranging from Toronto, Canada to Melbourne, Australia..