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Bill Charlap Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard

Jim Santella By

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Bill Charlap Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard Recorded in September 2003, this program includes several standards, giving a sense of familiarity to its essence. Pianist Bill Charlap enjoys a mellow groove. He squeezes the melody out of the piano as if it were coming from a rose petal. Nothing stands in his way as he sends each lyrical theme on its way. With bass and drums supplying his rhythmic foundation, the pianist moves gracefully over each selection with class.

For the most part, Charlap keeps this session quiet and gentle. His interpretations come naturally for an intimate room where the audience is relaxed and subdued. Both "Autumn in New York and "It's Only a Paper Moon issue slow and delicate. The pianist's touch remains light and crisp as he tickles the keys with a soft caress. It's one of those situations where the audience can hang quietly on every note.

Faster numbers, such as "My Shining Hour and "The Lady is a Tramp show off Charlap's fluid technique. When the song calls for it, he can apply blazing-fast cascades and handfuls of keys in succession. That both bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenneth Washington keep up with him comes as no surprise, considering their superb talent. With Charlap, they provide a cohesive outing that shines brightly all night long.

The bassist solos several times while the drummer stretches out only once, keeping the focus aimed at Charlap's lyrical piano interpretations. They mesh well when coloring together. The pianist enjoys a slow simmer where his musical partners can apply layers of silk and satin. Their session runs smooth, languishes happily through the evening's intimate spirit, and maintains a delicate pace designed for lovers.


Track Listing: Rocker; Autumn in New York; Godchild; The Lady is a Tramp; Its Only a Paper Moon; My Shining Hour; All Across the City; While Were Young; Last Night When We Were Young.

Personnel: Bill Charlap: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Kenneth Washington: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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