BILL CHARLAP’s style has been described variously as hard-swinging, romantic, or rigorous, but his musical roots can be found in a childhood home filled with songs and songwriters. His father, Moose Charlap, was a Broadway composer, known especially for his work on Peter Pan. His mother, Sandy Stewart, is a singer who, 40 years ago, had a hit with the Kander and Ebb ballad, “My Coloring Book.” House-guests often included legendary figures from the great American songbook.
After attending the New York High School of Performing Arts (of Fame fame) and studying with jazz pianist Jack Reilly, classical pianist Eleanor Hancock, and jazz great (and distant cousin) Dick Hyman, he went on to college – but only temporarily, as his classical studies gave way to a career in jazz. He has worked with and been influenced by such jazz greats as Benny Carter, Clark Terry, Earl Hines, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Charlie Parker, Wayne Shorter, and Chet Baker.
Charlap’s latest album, Bill Charlap Plays George Gershwin – The American Soul, was released last month on Blue Note.