Category: Charlap, Bill

Hank Jones with Bill Charlap on Piano Jazz

hankJonesI love when a musician is interviewed by one of his or her peers…it usually gives the interview a slant it wouldn’t ordinarily have. Another musician will often ask questions of their subject that a non-musician wouldn’t necessarily consider because of their shared talents and experience. Here is a great interview in which pianist Bill Charlap, sitting in for regular host Marian McPartland on NPR’s Piano Jazz, interviews the legendary Hank Jones.

In this 2009 session, Jones returns to the program 30 years after his first appearance for a set of tunes spanning his career. “Keep the melody intact,” Jones says flatly. “You can do all kinds of things with the harmonies, but the melody must remain.”

The set list for the show:

  • “Lonely Woman” (Bill Stegmeyer)
  • “We’ll Be Together Again” (Carl Fischer)
  • “Lotus Blossoms” (Billy Strayhorn)
  • “Easy Living” (Ralph Rainger/Leo Robin)
  • “Odd Number” (Hank Jones)
  • “Lord, I Want to Be a Christian” (Traditional)
  • “Sophisticated Lady” (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills/Mitchell Parrish)
  • “Oh, Look at Me Now” (Joe Bushkin/John DeVries)

Click here to listen to Hank Jones with Bill Charlap on Piano Jazz

—Peter Blasevick

Bill Charlap in 2000

Bill Charlap is one of the most sought after pianists in the world of jazz. He grew up in a musical household and absorbed the sounds of jazz and musical theater at a young age. Bill has recorded with many of today’s top jazz artists and also with his own trio. Bill was interviewed in Scottsdale, Arizona on April 16, 2000, by Monk Rowe, director of the Hamilton College Jazz Archive.

Bill talks about some recording that were influenctial early in his life in this excerpt:

“I know the first record I bought was Vladimir Horowitz playing Liszt, the “Hungarian Rhapsody #2,” the one that he did live at Carnegie Hall. That’s some incredible piano playing. It’s real gypsy music. Very soulful. And on a pianistic level it’s just ridiculous. It’s just really unbelievable. Also Art Tatum, “Piano Starts Here.” That one, the four recordings, the shorts of him playing “Tea for Two” and “Tiger Rag,” “Sophisticated Lady” and something else on there too, I forget what the last one is. And the Gene Norman Shrine Concert which is also on there. That was very nfluential, him playing “Yesterdays” particularly, “Time” and “Flights of Fancy,” the harmonic ideas. The lines. You know it’s a very linear Tatum, particularly on that. That’s a very important record for me. There were some early Oscar Peterson that my parents had. I think that was one of the first jazz albums I bought. The Horowitz was the first classical record, the first record indeed. I was a little boy, I went to Barnes & Noble and I said “do you have ‘Homage to Liszt?’” I probably said “Homage of Liszt.” And that’s the record. I still remember the cover, it’s this brown cover and it’s Liszt, the Abbe Liszt, the old Liszt on the cover. And I went and I bought this Oscar Peterson record many years later.  It was “Return Engagement.” It was a Verve two-fer that had a lot of “Night Train” on it, much of the classic trio with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. Those were real important. There were many others. It would be almost impossible to name them all, and I would certainly leave things out. But there is a couple desert island discs for you, or at least the first records that I listened to.”

Click here to listen to and read Bill Charlap in 2000

– Peter Blasevick