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Bill Charlap

Jazz Pianist

Sun, Jan 23

Bill Charlap is a jazz pianist who comes from a musical background: His cousin is famed jazz pianist Dick Hyman and his mother, Sandy Stewart, is a singer who had a hit in 1962 with My Coloring Book, while his father was Broadway composer Moose Charlap.

Charlap and his mother even recorded a duet album: “Love Is Here To Stay.” Charlap has recorded seven albums as a leader or co-leader for the Blue Note label, including two Grammy-nominated CDs: “Somewhere”, featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein, and “The Bill Charlap Trio, Live At The Village Vanguard.”

Charlap began playing piano at age three. He later studied classical music, but remained most interested in jazz. He has worked with Gerry Mulligan, Benny Carter, Tony Bennett, and others.

In 1995 he joined the Phil Woods Quintet. In a crowded field, Charlap is widely considered one of the world’s best jazz pianists, appearing at least twice a year for lengthy runs at some of the world’s major jazz clubs, including the legendary Village Vanguard with his excellent rhythm section, consisting of Peter Washington (bass) and Kenny Washington (drums).

In addition to appearing and recording with Peter Washington and Kenny Washington in the Bill Charlap Trio, since 2001Charlap has also recorded as a member of the New York Trio for the Japanese label Venus Records. The other members of the New York Trio are bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Bill Stewart.

In 2008, Charlap became part of The Blue Note 7, a septet formed that year in honor of the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records. The group recorded an album in 2008, entitled Mosaic, which was released in 2009 on Blue Note Records/EMI, and toured the United States in promotion of the album from January until April 2009. The group plays the music of Blue Note Records from various artists, with arrangements by members of the band and his wife Renee Rosnes. The pair released an album of piano duets entitled “”Double Portrait” on Blue Note Records/EMI.

“Mr. Charlap was a particularly enlivening element in the group. [He] was a compelling pianist who punched up the rhythm behind Mr. Mulligan, floated on a melody or stirred up jagged, dancing excitement.” –The New York Times, of Bill Charlap’s performance with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet

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