Bill Charlap’s interpretation of modern song is an inspiration for a new generation of musicians and pianists. His performances embrace lyricism like a lover does the familiar contours of a paramour’s body. Charlap proves this time and time again, and Notes From New York is no exception. The programme is rich in expressive contrasts and diverse musical forms in which dance and variation occupy a position of importance.
The pianist’s playing feels more reflective and relaxed than it has sometimes seemed in earlier performances. This is especially rewarding in his limpid account of Vernon Duke’s ‘Not A Care In The World’. Charlap has always had an infectious way with dancing rhythms and in the great Thad Jones’ ‘Little Rascal On A Rock’ you hear a profusion of playful antics that make his performance most alluring. ‘I’ll Remember April’ comes over well too, particularly where the bravura element is present. In that piece as well as ‘On The Sunny Side Of The Street’ Charlap responds with spontaneity while at the same time communicating a sense of colour and of pageant.
In the music of these composers (of standards) Bill Charlap’s performance is enhanced by the empathy of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. The music is also heightened by the sympathetically recorded sound on a wonderfully tuned instrument, his instrument of choice that has been Charlap’s constant companion over his long career. There is another pairing that Charlap that is thrillingly immortal and that is Charlap’s feel for the keys of the piano. His fingers seem all nerves as he makes the piano purr seductively, and there are numerous magical moments where forthright bluster turns into sublime delicacy as his performances challenge safe conformity.
Track List: I’ll Remember April; Make Me Rainbows; Not A Care In The World; There Is No Music; A Sleepin’ Bee; Little Rascal On A Rock; Too Late Now; Tiny’s Tempo; On The Sunny Side Of The Street.
Personnel: Bill Charlap: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Kenny Washington: drums.
Release date: April 2016
Running time: 54:07
Buy album on: amazon