Two of America’s greatest interpreters of song open this year’s festival.
Freddy Cole will return with his esteemed Quartet and in a rare New York appearance, the soulful Ernie Andrews will perform with the Bill Charlap Trio and the bluesy tenor sax of Houston Person.
Freddy Cole Quartet
Freddy Cole, vocals & piano
Randy Napoleon, guitar
Elias Bailey, bass
Curtis Boyd, drums
Bill Charlap Trio
Bill Charlap, piano
Peter Washington, bass
Kenny Washington, drums
Ernie Andrews, vocals
Houston Person, tenor sax
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This year marks Bill Charlap’s eighth summer as artistic director of 92nd Street Y’s Jazz in July summer festival. One of the world’s premier jazz pianists, Mr. Charlap has performed with many leading artists of our time, ranging from Phil Woods and Tony Bennett to Gerry Mulligan and Wynton Marsalis. He is known for his interpretations of American popular songs and has recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. Time magazine wrote, “Bill Charlap approaches a song the way a lover approaches his beloved…no matter how imaginative or surprising his take on a song is, he invariably zeroes in on its essence.”
In 1997, Mr. Charlap formed the Bill Charlap Trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington (no relation), now recognized as one of the leading groups in jazz. In 2000, he signed with Blue Note Records and has since received two Grammy nominations, for Somewhere: The Songs of Leonard Bernstein and, most recently, The Bill Charlap Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard. The Trio performs all over the world; their New York engagements include regular appearances at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and they will return to the Village Vanguard for a two-week run this fall. In 2009, Mr. Charlap was pianist and musical director for The Blue Note 7, an all-star jazz septet celebrating the legacy of Blue Note Records on its 70th anniversary. The septet performed a 50-city tour and released the CD, Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records.
Mr. Charlap’s experience as concert producer extends beyond Jazz in July. In the mid-1990s, 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. He has produced several concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center and an evening of George Gershwin’s music at the Hollywood Bowl.
Born in New York City, Mr. Charlap began playing the piano at age three. His father was Broadway composer Moose Charlap, whose credits include Peter Pan, and his mother is singer Sandy Stewart, who appeared on the Ed Sullivan and Perry Como shows and earned a Grammy nomination for her recording of “My Coloring Book.” In 2005, Mr. Charlap and Ms. Stewart released the acclaimed CD, Love Is Here to Stay (Blue Note). This past November, they made their eighth appearance together at The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, and this past February, they headlined a concert on the 92Y Jazz series.
Mr. Charlap is married to renowned jazz pianist Renee Rosnes. The two artists often collaborate in a duo piano setting. In 2010, Mr. Charlap and Ms. Rosnes released Double Portrait, on the Blue Note label, recorded at 92nd Street Y.
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Freddy Cole was born into a storied family of musicians whose friends included Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Lionel Hampton. He earned a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music before moving to New York, where he built his career in the city’s bistros; last month, he returned to his alma mater to receive an honorary doctorate. Mr. Cole and his trio regularly tour the world; last month alone his appearances ranged from Seattle’s Jazz Alley to the Prague Opera House and later this week he will travel to a jazz festival in Chile. Mr. Cole has been a recording artist since 1952. His recent CDs include last year’s Talk to Me and Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B, a tribute to Billy Eckstine which was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award, both for HighNote. His website is freddycole.com.
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Randy Napoleon is a guitarist, composer and arranger who toured and recorded with Benny Green, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and Michael Bublé before joining the Freddy Cole Quartet in 2007. His TV appearances include “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The View,” “Today,” “Live with Regis & Kelly,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and the PBS special “Caught in the Act.” Mr. Napoleon also tours with his own bands, and he appeared with Bill Charlap at Lincoln Center. As a recording artist, his latest solo release is
The Jukebox Crowd and he collaborated on Bitter/Sweet with singer Eric Comstock. Mr. Napoleon has also recorded with Paul Keller, Melissa Morgan, Jared Gold and others, and he arranged most of Mr. Cole’s last two albums, including the 2010 Grammy-nominated Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B. His website is randynapoleon.com.
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For the last seven years, bassist Elias Bailey has been performing with the Freddy Cole Quartet at some of the most prestigious venues in the world. With Mr. Cole, he has shared the stage with artists such as Houston Person, Eric Alexander, John DiMartino and Harry Allen. Mr. Bailey has been playing professionally since the age of 15 when he was living in the Virginia area. Starting at age 19, he spent two years with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, touring the world and performing with artists like Lynn Roberts, The Four Lads and The Mills Brothers. He then joined jazz singer René Marie’s group, performing on her critically acclaimed album, Live at Jazz Standard. Recently, Mr. Bailey has worked with tenor saxophonist Bennie Wallace and drummer Alvin Queen and can be heard on Mr. Queen’s album, Mighty Long Way.
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Born in Brooklyn, drummer Curtis Boyd has enjoyed a distinguished reputation as percussionist, composer and educator for more than four decades. He has been a member of the Freddy Cole Quartet for more than 25 years, and in the mid-‘80s, he was a member of the Billy Taylor Trio. He has also worked with Chick Corea, Jimmy and Percy Heath, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Milt Jackson, Carmen McRae, Oscar Brown, Jr., and Hank Jones, among many others. He has worked with such organizations as Jazzmobile, Third Street Music School Settlement, Jazz Interaction and the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and his festival engagements extend back to Japan’s first world jazz festival in 1964. Mr. Boyd has given clinics, master classes and seminars and he has been an instructor at Rutgers University and York University.
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Ernie Andrews has been in the music business for more than 60 years, beginning with the bestselling song “Soothe Me,” written by Joe Greene in 1947. Mr. Andrews toured with the Harry James Band from 1959-69, and he continues to perform in small group and big band settings throughout the US and abroad. His discography lists more than 20 solo albums, including ThisIs Ernie Andrews, Soul Proprietor, Travelin’ Light, From the Heart, No Regrets, The Great City and Girl Talk. As a guest, Mr. Andrews is featured on many albums, including Ellington Is Forever with Kenny Burrell, Juggernaut and Juggernaut Strikes Again with the Capp—Pierce Orchestra, Paris All-Stars with Jay McShann and You Can Hide Inside the Music with the Harper Brothers. In 1989, he was profiled in the award-winning documentary Ernie Andrews: Blues for Central Avenue. His website is ernieandrews.com.
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Currently established in the dual roles of artist and producer for HighNote, Houston Person began his career in the 1960s with a series of soulful recordings for Prestige. He then enjoyed a legendary 30-year partnership with the vocalist Etta Jones, which lasted until her passing in 2001. As a sideman, Mr. Person has performed or recorded with Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Barbara Morrison, Della Griffin and others. He has recorded more than 75 albums as a leader on multiple labels, including Muse, which became HighNote. There Mr. Person also became a record producer; his recordings as both tenor saxophonist and producer of two Etta Jones albums each earned Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Vocal. HighNote has released a three-disc retrospective, The Art and Soul of Houston Person and Mr. Person’s recent performance recordings include Moment to Moment and So Nice.
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Peter Washington has a discography of more than 450 recordings. Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Washington played classical bass as a teen and majored in English literature at UC Berkeley, where he became interested in jazz. He was invited by Art Blakey to join the Jazz Messengers in New York. From there, Mr. Washington became part of two of jazz’s most celebrated trios: the Tommy Flanagan Trio, and for the past 14 years, the Bill Charlap Trio. Mr. Washington’s freelance work roster is a “who’s who” of jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Milt Jackson, Johnny Griffin, Bobby Hutcherson and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. In 2009, Mr. Washington was part of The Blue Note 7, a septet formed in honor of the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records. The group recorded the album Mosaic and toured the US in 2009.
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Kenny Washington was born in Brooklyn. In 1977, while still in his teens, he worked with Lee Konitz and his nonet. He has been a member of the Bill Charlap Trio for 14 years and has performed and recorded with dozens of major artists, giving him a discography of hundreds of titles. Artists include Benny Carter, Betty Carter, Johnny Griffin, Ron Carter, Clark Terry, Milt Jackson, Tommy Flanagan, Dizzy Gillespie, Arturo Sandoval and Benny Goodman. Mr. Washington is a noted jazz historian and radio personality; he has written liner notes and helped prepare re-releases by Art Blakey, Count Basie and others, and he was an announcer on WBGO jazz radio. He currently serves on the faculties of Purchase College (SUNY) and The Juilliard School, teaching drums and jazz history.
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