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Bill Charlap Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard

The fact that Bill Charlap has gotten a lot of attention in recent years creates hope that jazz might truly be a meritocracy. Charlap doesn’t have dreadlocks, and his playing lacks newsworthy eccentricities that would make him easy for critics to characterize. All Charlap has going for him is exceptional musicianship.

In the unlikely event that you don’t own any Bill Charlap albums, buy this one first. It is (surprisingly) his first live recording. The famous acoustics of the Village Vanguard are beautifully leveraged by Joel Moss (who produced, engineered and mixed it). Studio albums can be valuable approximations of the jazz experience. Live recordings this good put you in the presence of the real thing.

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