Home » Jazz Articles » Live Review » Bill Charlap Trio

313

Bill Charlap Trio

By

Sign in to view read count
Bill Charlap

Bill Charlap



Turn Out The Stars
Written In The Stars
Blue Note
2000
The Village Vanguard, New York

After years of sideman work and releases on independent labels, pianist Bill Charlap has "made it," issuing his Blue Note Records debut, Written In the Stars, and playing a week at the Village Vanguard with his superb trio. Along with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington, Charlap sticks to a simple format: all standards, all the time. At a time when young jazz artists are creating bold new music in large quantities, Charlap’s bop classicism would seem to put him in the "purist" or traditionalist camp. Fair enough, but this is a purism that works. While it’s certainly old school, there’s nothing formulaic about Charlap’s approach. Even many of the tunes are rarities: Harold Arlen’s "The Man That Got Away," Cole Porter’s "Where Have You Been," Gershwin’s "Lorelei." And Charlap’s magic touch, even with songbook staples like "The Lady Is a Tramp," elevates him far above the norm.
The trio opens with a solid runthrough of Horace Silver’s "Ecaroh," then has its way with Porter’s "In the Still of the Night," making the A sections float portentously and breaking into furious, up-tempo swing on the Bs. "The Man That Got Away" and "Where Have You Been" ripple with exquisite dynamic control and a bone-deep sense of swing. A deliciously slow and smoky "One For My Baby" is sandwiched between the two show-stoppers, "The Lady Is a Tramp" and "Slow Boat to China," both of which explode with out-of-left-field modulations, tempo changes, full stops, and tightly woven ensemble passages. Charlap spreads solo room around generously, using both Washingtons to full advantage.

Charlap’s single-minded focus on the Great American Songbook may prompt one to wonder whether he’ll sound as fresh in ten years. But today he is making beautiful music, while reminding us that there are still plenty of treasures buried within standards.

Comments


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

More

Jazz article: Sun Ra Arkestra at Great American Music Hall
Jazz article: The Jazz Cruise 2024
Live Review
The Jazz Cruise 2024
Jazz article: Kenny Barron Residency at SFJAZZ Center
Jazz article: John Patitucci Trio At The Jazz Forum

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.