Ken Peplowski cancer support fund

    At $81,184 a GoFundMe campaign for the popular mainstream clarinettist and saxophonist has exceeded its target but will remain open

    Ken Peplowski at Norwich Jazz Party 2014. Photo by Bruce Lindsay

    Guitarist Frank Vignola is organising a funding campaign to help his friend and colleague Ken Peplowski get through treatment for cancer. In the past year or so Peplowski, a well-known mainstream-style saxophonist and clarinettist, has been forced to cancel a lot of work due to the effect of his treatments.

    Since it opened on 8 July the fund has raised $81,184 USD from 743 donations, one of which was as high as $2000. The campaign has passed its $70,000 goal, but Vignola has decided to let the campaign run until 1 November, saying: “I’m going to push it a bit and ask we continue to raise money for our friend, Ken. He needs peace of mind to help in his healing, which, as we know, will be a difficult road.”

    Peplowski has been receiving treatment for multiple myeloma for over a year. In a message to the funding page in mid-July he said that he was “almost in remission” and that while his cancer was not considered curable, “one can stay in remission for a very long time”.

    Despite the disease and chemotherapy the optimistic Peplowski has managed to do some gigs, noting that “playing is the best therapy and I’ll try my best to work as much as I can”. He worked with the Django Allstars at Birdland, NY on 16 July, saying that once he was on the bandstand his sense of fatigue “all disappeared”.

    Three days later he tested positive for Covid-19 and had to cancel a gig with Rossano Sportiello at William Paterson College but 1 August he reported he had played the Litchfield Jazz Festival with Houston Person the previous Saturday, “felt really good getting out there and making music” and was now working on a producing job for a recording session in NY this month.

    To contribute to the fund, go to