Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Bill Charlap Trio: Notes From New York

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

It’s worth remembering that no artist is constantly obligated to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes, just making a really great wheel can be an accomplishment in itself. And while no one would say Notes From New York, the new outing from the Bill Charlap Trio, represents a paradigm shift in the piano-trio canon, it’s an album of such instrumental invention and brio that it easily stands as the year’s most purely delightful recording thus far.

Charlap’s piano technique is singular and stunning in the way it weds a chiming, almost dainty touch to a leaping, top-to-bottom keyboard attack. If “muscular elegance” is not too much of an oxymoron, it’s the perfect phrase to describe the pianist’s approach. His album-opening rendition of “I’ll Remember April” is a master class in fast-paced swing, drummer Kenny Washington’s staccato rhythms driving Charlap to ever-rising single-note explosions. “Tiny’s Tempo” bustles along with effortless flair, showcasing a bouncy solo from bassist Peter Washington, and Charlap lightly trips his way through “A Sleepin’ Bee”; there, Kenny Washington’s shuffling brushes provide an unwavering companion on the journey.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published