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Bill Charlap Trio opens London Jazz Festival / Jazz Journal

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It's that time again, 10 days at the tail end of autumn in which jazz buffs of every stripe and persuasion can converge on London secure in the knowledge that they can pig out on one of the most eclectic musical buffets available over the counter sans prescription. Truly something for everyone.

So no real surprises when Friday evening on the opening day of the festival found me ensconced at Pizza Express, standing up to be counted, when pianist Bill Charlap brought his trio to town along with special guest Colin Oxley, on guitar. It's said that we can't choose our parents but if we could then young William was one shrewd cookie selecting as his sire fine Broadway composer Moose Charlap and as his dam Sandy Stewart, one of the finest vocalists to hold a cabaret card and active for several years on the supper-club, cabaret and jazz circuit.

If you wanted to be cute you could say Bill Charlap plays a lot of piano – it's got 89 keys – but Charlap is better than that, much better. Maestro hits the spot. Exquisite takes it to the next level. Precision personified he takes great care to place each note exactly where it will best complement both the note that's just gone and the one on its way; he doesn't so much create music as fashion a mosaic, a tapestry, call it what you will or Twelfth Night.