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Bill Charlap Trio at the Treelawn Music Hall

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Over the past decade or so, Cleveland's Waterloo District has been known primarily for its artsy community and for the frequent concerts that occur at the renowned Beachland Ballroom. With the majority of the shows at that venue coming from the rock and alternative genre, jazz has not been given a prominent voice in the area. That all changed about eighteen months ago with the purchase of the Slovenian Workmen's Home just up the street from the Beachland. Among several partners that are also part of the Beachland group, Eric Hanson decided to make this new location a hot spot for jazz and blues performances. Having been involved in the jazz management business since 1989, Hanson has an impressive track record, serving as manager to a wide range of artists from Don Pullen to Nina Simone.

The bar area of the building has regularly been featuring jazz from a variety of local and regional artists. However, the larger ballroom and stage has taken a bit longer to renovate and prepare for its debut. That all changed recently when New York pianist Bill Charlap and his trio christened the new Treelawn Music Hall on November 20, 2023 and the Cleveland jazz community welcomed them with open arms. Kicking off with a spate of Duke Ellington chestnuts, Charlap dazzled with his attention to dynamics and musical drama.

A veteran ensemble with a 26 year track record, Chalap's trio includes bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. Sounding as one, the trio visited a variety of jazz chestnuts including "Here's That Rainy Day" and Charlie Parker's "Segment." In between pieces, the pianist waxed poetic about the history of the modern classics he performed, including the recitation of many of the lyrics. Ample solo space was also given to both Washingtons. A generous set of material included an encore and the promise from Hanson that more shows in this stellar venue are in the offing.
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