Two consummate musicians showcase their mastery of the keyboard in a dazzling evening of jazz piano and song.
This concert also highlights the musical connection between Sandy Stewart and Dick Hyman that dates back to the early 1950s. Ken Peplowski and Harry Allen’s effervescent improvisations add to the excitement!
Dick Hyman, piano
Bill Charlap, piano
Sandy Stewart, vocals
Ken Peplowski, clarinet
Harry Allen, tenor sax
Jay Leonhart, bass
Willie Jones III, drums
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The Jazz in July series is partially endowed by Simona and Jerome A. Chazen.
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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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Throughout a musical career that began in the early 1950s, Dick Hyman has served as pianist, organist, arranger, music director and composer. He has left an indelible mark on 92Y’s musical legacy as the creator (with Hadassah Markson) and artistic director of its two continuing jazz concert series: Jazz Piano at the Y (now renamed 92Y Jazz) from 1984-2009; and Jazz in July from 1985-2004. As a jazz pianist, Mr. Hyman has made well over 100 albums; in 2009, Arbors Records released his six-disc encyclopedic Century of Jazz Piano. He has written orchestral works, including his Piano Concerto and Ragtime Fantasy, chamber music, ballets and choral music. He was orchestrator for the Broadway revue Sugar Babies, worked on the music for a dozen Woody Allen films and wrote the scores of such other films as Moonstruck. His website is dickhyman.com.
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Sandy Stewart has worked with such songwriters as Richard Rodgers, Jule Styne, Cy Coleman and her late husband, Moose Charlap. In 1962, she received a Grammy Award nomination for Kander & Ebb’s My Coloring Book. She was a star vocalist during the Golden Age of Television, appearing on The Ernie Kovacs Show, CBS Morning Show, The Perry Como Show and The Ed Sullivan Show. Ms. Stewart is now a star of cabaret: she and her son Bill Charlap appeared eight times at The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel. This past February, they gave a concert on the 92Y Jazz series, and next March, they will debut at Feinstein’s at the Regency. In 2010, they released their first CD, Love Is Here to Stay and their second, Two for the Road, is scheduled for a fall release.
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With a career now spanning more than three decades, Ken Peplowski began playing in polka bands in his native Cleveland, then discovered jazz in his early teens. Within a few years, he was playing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and since then, he has played with such artists as Mel Tormé, Hank Jones, Peggy Lee, George Shearing, Rosemary Clooney, Dave Frishberg, Erich Kunzel and Madonna. He can also be heard on the soundtracks to Woody Allen movies, including Sweet and Lowdown. Mr. Peplowski has made 20 albums as leader, including last year’s In Search of (Capri), Noir Blue (Capri) and the Ken Peplowski Quartet CD Memories of You (Venus). He conducts many educational workshops and is music director of the Eugene Jazz Festival and jazz director of the Oregon Festival of American Music. His website is kenpeplowski.com.
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Harry Allen has performed at jazz festivals and clubs throughout the US, Europe and Asia. Among the artists he has performed and/or recorded with are Rosemary Clooney, Frank Wess, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mandel, James Taylor and Sheryl Crow. A Swing Bros. recording artist, Mr. Allen has over 40 recordings to his name. Three of his CDs have won Gold Disc Awards from Japan’s Swing Journal magazine. His most recent album is New York State of Mind, and others include Jazz for the Heart, A Night at Birdland, Vol. II, and the Harry Allen—Joe Cohn Quartet’s Stompin’ the Blues with Scott Hamilton. In 2008 and 2006, the Quartet was nominated for Best Jazz Combo by the Jazz Journalists Association, and it won the 2006 New York Nightlife Award for Outstanding Jazz Combo Performance. Mr. Allen’s website is harryallenjazz.com.
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Jay Leonhart attended the Peabody Conservatory as a child; he became a jazz musician while at the Berklee College of Music, and then became a busy freelance musician in New York. Among Mr. Leonhart’s many associations have been Marian McPartland, Jim Hall, Chuck Wayne, Phil Woods, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz and pianist Mike Renzi. From 1975-95, he was named Most Valuable Bassist in the recording industry three times by the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences. In the 1980s, Mr. Leonhart became known as a lyricist when he began leading his own recording sessions and his songs started to be recorded by other singers. As a leader, Mr. Leonhart has recorded 15 albums for DMP, Sunnyside, Nesak and DRG. He has created a one-man-show of his own songs entitled The Bass Lesson. His website is jayleonhart.com.
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Willie Jones III
Born in Los Angeles, Willie Jones III was introduced to jazz by his father, the noted jazz pianist Willie Jones II, and he received a full scholarship to the California Institute for the Arts. In the mid-‘90s, Mr. Jones was sideman to Milt Jackson and a member of Arturo Sandoval’s band; he is featured on Sandoval’s Grammy-winning release Hot House (N2K). From 1998-2005, Mr. Jones was a member of Roy Hargrove’s Quintet and he has worked with Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, Ernestine Anderson, Wynton Marsalis, Herbie Hancock and others. In 2000, Mr. Jones released his debut CD on his own label, WJ3, followed by two more volumes, plus WE 2, featuring trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and pianist Eric Reed. His latest CD, The Next Phase, was released in 2010. He currently serves on the faculty of Northwestern University. His website is williejones3.com.
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