Charlap shines as a master jazz pianist who has collaborated with Tony Bennett, Phil Woods, Gerry Mulligan and Wynton Marsalis, among other powerhouse musicians. Renowned for his chops, he’s certainly known best for celebrating the American popular songbook – classics drawn from musicals, films and Broadway shows, with albums devoted to the music of George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers and Cole Porter.
Born in New York City, 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.”
Charlap released three albums – his 1994 debut, Along with Me, followed by Souvenir in 1995 and Distant Star in 1996 – before forming the The Bill Charlap Trio, with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington (no relation), in 1997. In 2000, Charlap signed to Blue Note Records
and has since received Grammy Award nominations for Somewhere: The Songs of Leonard Bernstein and more recently, The Bill Charlap Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard. Charlap received a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop album for his 2015 release with Tony Bennett, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern.
Charlap is far from alone in cherishing the American popular songbook. “It’s a great thing that the United States have given the rest of the world,” noting that even when he plays Europe and the Far East, audiences sing along knowingly. “They know them. They love them. The songs never die, and they become more and more beautiful as the years go by.”
Charlap is married to Canadian-born, North Vancouver-raised jazz pianist Renee Rosnes. The two artists often collaborate in a duo piano setting. In 2010 Charlap and Rosnes released Double Portrait (Blue Note).
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