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Piano Jazz
5:29 pm
Thu February 12, 2009

Bill Charlap And Renee Rosnes On Piano Jazz

Originally published on Fri April 13, 2012 3:53 pm

It's a rare thing to have three pianists at three pianos in one studio. But given the recent marriage of keyboard masters Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes, Marian McPartland thought it was a perfect opportunity to expand the Piano Jazz format with two of today's most gifted players as her guests.

Rosnes (the modern master) and Charlap (the accomplished acolyte of the American songbook) are a true jazz-piano power couple. Naturally, they met on the bandstand in various encounters over the years, from New York to Switzerland to Japan. The couple got together for the ultimate duet in 2007, with a star-studded wedding ceremony at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in the Jazz at Lincoln Center complex.

Charlap's talents run in the family: His father, Moose Charlap, was a successful Broadway composer, while his mother, Sandy Stewart, was a popular singer in the 1960s who worked with Benny Goodman and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. While Bill grew up on the Manhattan music scene, Irene "Renee" Rosnes spent her childhood on the other side of the continent in Vancouver, British Columbia. She didn't make it to New York until the mid-'80s, but her jazz acumen was quickly recognized by such jazz masters as Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter and J.J. Johnson.

The two demonstrate their complementary styles on a duet of "Just in Time." Charlap and Rosnes then invite McPartland into the mix for a trio version of "Gone With the Wind" — which happens to be the very first tune the couple ever played together.

Rosnes plays a haunting, impressionistic version of Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge" and Charlap salutes McPartland with her own "Stranger in a Dream." The two come together again on a gently swinging duet version of McPartland's most famous tune, "Twilight World." The host can't resist taking advantage of this unique piano-trio setting to perform a free improv sesson with her guests. The esteemed trio winds up the hour with each having a go at "I'll Remember April."

Originally recorded July 14, 2008.

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