Jul 11, 2012
It’s July in New York, which means its time for the 92nd Street Y’s “Jazz in July” series of concerts (July 16-26), curated for the eighth year by pianist Bill Charlap. This year’s series of six events will feature dazzling jazz performed by some of the finest soloists and ensembles in jazz. There will be themed nights (tributes to Richard Rodgers, Bill Eavns and Art Blakey) and a wide variety of contributing musicians, ranging from Charlap’s long-time trio of Kenny Washington and Peter Washington to guests Freddy Cole, Ernie Andrews, Barbara Carroll, Houston Person, Bucky Pizzarelli, Sachal Vasandani and more.
It’s also a family affair for Charlap, who will be joined by his mother, Sandy Stewart, and a distant cousin, Dick Hyman for an evening of swing, and wife Renee Rosnes for a number of shows.
I spoke with Bill at length about how he chose the music for these concerts, his tenure at the Y, and his love from the piano trio format. Click here to listen to our conversation, including musical interludes from performers featured during the festival, including:
Freddy Cole – “There Are Such Things” from Music Maestro Please. While singer-pianist Freddy leads his own group, this recording comes from a set where the Charlap Trio (Bill, Kenny Washington and Peter Washington) backs him on a set of standards.
Bill Charlap Trio – “Where or When” from Written in the Stars. Here’s the format where Bill really pulls out all the stops, pushing the art of the piano trio to another level. What are the odds this one is on the set list the night Richard Rodgers is feted on July 19?
Harry Allen with the Bill Charlap Trio – “Just Squeeze Me” from Harry Allen Plays Ellington Songs. One of the great tenor players, Allen will get to strut his stuff with other New York “first call” players like Ken Peplowski on July 24.
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – “Along Came Betty” from Moanin’ A classic Benny Golson tune from perhaps his finest studio album in 1958. Three of this band’s members went on to lead their own groups to major artistic successes – Lee Morgan (trumpet), Golson (tenor sax), and Bobby Timmons (piano) . Jymie Merritt (bass) and Blakey (drums) round out this edition of the Jazz Messengers.
Count Basie – “Roseland Shuffle” from The Complete Decca Recordings. This indispensable compilation covers the Basie band from 1937 to 1939, when the “All-American Rhythm Section” of Freddie Greene (guitar), Walter Page (bass) and Jo Jones (drums) propelled the band to greater and greater heights.