By Brenda Prenland
Artistic Director of Jazz in July, Bill Charlap, opened the 32nd annual event this week with a thrilling arrangement of “Tea for Two.” Each evening in the series is dedicated to composers or a particular theme. Opening night’s was “Summertime Swing Party,” and swing it did!
It is rare that we can hear the range of saxophones arrayed here. “Moonglow” was just one of many pieces that seemed perfect for their interpretation. The alto sax in Body and Soul, and alto and baritone saxes in “What’s New?” were especially enjoyable. Another of the wonderful arrangements was “Sophisticated Lady” for tenor sax and piano.
“Jazz Goes Hollywood: Dietz & Schwartz was the program for Wednesday. A surprise guest was radio personality, Jonathan Schwartz, who related a story about his father’s work.
Bill Charlap, piano
Renee Rosnes, piano
Ken Peplowski, clarinet
Gene Bertoncini, guitar
Jon Gordon, alto sax
Sandy Stewart, vocals
Sean Smith, bass
Lewis Nash, drums
Sean Smith provided a lush addition on bass to “That’s Entertainment,” among several other pieces. Renee Rosnes, Bill Charlap and Ken Peoplowski played a wonderful “Dancing in the Dark.” Special kudos for her many arrangements including “Alone Together,” to Ms. Rosnes.
Sandy Stewart (Mr. Charlap’s mother) was the star of the evening with her vocals. Particular highlights were “I See Your Face Before me,” a haunting “Something to Remember You By,” with Ms. Stewart, guitar and soprano sax accompaniment and “Ill Go My Way By Myself,” with clarinet.
Jazz in July remains the best thing since sliced bread. Don’t miss it!