Bill Charlap Trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington

On Saturday, March 14th at 8:00 PM, the Vermont Jazz Center welcomes to its stage a piano trio that chooses to focus on the classic sounds of the Great American Songbook. The Bill Charlap Trio, with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington (no relation), represents the epitome of this particular style: elegant, lush, and swinging. This trio is renowned throughout the world for its work interpreting the lesser-known but equally beautiful songs that were written for musical theater and film. Charlap and his trio pay homage to the great songs that were written when Broadway and Tin Pan Alley provided the soundtrack to popular, North American culture. Charlap states: "The music I'm attracted to - music theater and film music is a different blueprint of American music and popular music... I'm still in love with that beautiful aesthetic of those lyricists and composers of that period."

Surely, Charlap's parents helped instill a love for this very specific music - his father, Moose Charlap was a respected Broadway composer best known for his work with Jules Stein in the 1954 musical, Peter Pan. Charlap's mother is Sandy Stewart, a noted singer known for her appearance in 60s variety shows with the like of Ed Sullivan and Perry Como. She's still singing, sometimes accompanied by her son, Bill Charlap. In 2013, the two recorded a well-received album called Something to Remember.

Sponsored by a Friend of the Vermont Jazz Center Summer Jazz Workshop

The Bill Charlap Trio has been performing together now for 17 years. The comfort the three members feel making music and traveling together is palpable. They share an easy chemistry enhanced by the fact that each one of them is passionate about the music they play, and has talent, ability and chops beyond measure. Nonetheless, their virtuosity is always dedicated to the service of the song and their quest for a unified vision. Charlap recalls, "The first time we played together, it was automatic, it sounded like a band right away. It's not me on top of what they're playing--it's all three of us together. I can't say enough about them both individually and together."

Charlap's love of musical theater and film combined with his appreciation for the great melodies of bebop have led to the compilation of a great trio repertoire. In jazz terminology, the collection of arrangements played by a given band are often referred to as their "book." The Charlap Trio's Book covers about 150 tunes that have been refined over the years. These are not mere "head" versions of jazz standards, but detailed and creatively fashioned arrangements that frame, enhance and uplift each song's melody. The songs chosen are primarily lesser-known gems, often from the pens of composers we are already quite familiar: Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Thelonious Monk, Tadd Dameron, Dizzy Gillespie to name a few. Drummer Kenny Washington states: "The music keeps evolving, and we always have a lot of fun. Bill always manages to pick tunes that I've never heard before. They're great songs, and he makes each of them believable."

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 the mid-90s, he was the musical director of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, A Celebration of Johnny Mercer, part of New York's JVC Jazz Festival. In 1995 he joined the Phil Woods Quintet. Charlap appears at least twice a year for lengthy runs at some of the world's major jazz clubs, including the Village Vanguard.

Charlap replaced Dick Hyman as Artistic Director of New York's 92nd Street Y "Jazz in July" six program series after Hyman's 20th year in 2004. He married Canadian jazz pianist Renee Rosnes in New York City on August 25, 2007. The pair released an album of piano duets entitled Double Portraiton Blue Note Records/EMI. In 2008, Charlap became part of The Blue Note 7, a septet formed that year to honor Blue Note Records.

Bassist Peter Washington has hundreds of recordings under his belt. Some of the artists with whom he has recorded and/or toured with include: Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Heath, Mark Elf, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Steve Turre, Benny Greene, Robin Eugb anks, Benny Golson, Brian Lynch, Walter Bishop, Jr., Lewis Nash, Donald Byrd, Tom Harrell, Bobby Hutcherson, Geoff Keezer, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Lew Tabackin, Johnny Griffin, Tommy Flanagan, David "Fathead" Newman, Freddie Hubbard, Marcus Belgrave, Brian Lynch, George Cables, Renee Rosnes, Mulgrew Miller, Houston Person, Eric Alexander, Clark Terry, Houston Person, Phil Woods, James Williams, Steve Nelson, Karrin Allyson, Ray Charles, Anat Cohen and many others. Like Charlap, he was a member of the "Blue Note 7," a septet formed to honor Blue Note Records.

In 1977, drummer Kenny Washington while still in his teens, worked with the Lee Konitz nonet. He has been a member of the Bill Charlap Trio for over 15 years and has performed and recorded with dozens of major artists. His discography is in the hundreds and includes Benny Carter, Betty Carter, Johnny Griffin, Ron Carter, Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Milt Jackson, Tommy Flanagan, Dizzy Gillespie, Arturo Sandoval and Benny Goodman. Washington is a noted jazz historian and radio personality who has written highly respected liner notes and helped prepare classic jazz re-releases with Art Blakey and Count Basie among others.

The Bill Charlap Trio will perform at the Vermont Jazz Center in Brattleboro, Vermont on Saturday, March 14th. They will be mining the Great American Songbook for gems that they will polish with elegance, grit and tenderness. Catching this remarkable trio away from their hometown of New York or the festival circuit is quite rare; it is anticipated that the show will sell out, so be sure to reserve your tickets in advance. This concert is made possible due to the generous financial support of a dear friend of the Vermont Jazz Center Summer Jazz Workshop. The VJC is grateful for ongoing support from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Hospitality for our artists is provided by the Hampton Inn of Brattleboro. VJC publicity is underwritten by the Brattleboro Reformer, WVPR, WVEW and WFCR.

Tickets for the Bill Charlap Trio at the VJC, March 14th are $20+ general admission, $15 for students with I.D. (contact VJC about educational discounts); available at In the Moment in Brattleboro, or online at Tickets can also be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line, 802-254-9088, ext. 1.

Saturday, March 14th
8:00 PM
Vermont Jazz Center
Sliding Scale ticket fee: $20.00 - $40.00
Buy tickets on-line (secure server)

Please purchase tickets on-line to help avoid a massive line on the day of the show. There will be separate lines for "will call" and ticket sales. Please read our new TICKET PRICING POLICY.

Other ticket payment/reservation options:
In the Moment, 143 Main St, Brattleboro, VT
Call the Jazz Center at 802-254-9088 to reserve tickets.

Please note: A surcharge of $1/per ticket will be added to all tickets purchased with a credit card.
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