Bill Charlap: Rocker
Bill Charlap (piano)
Live at The Village Vanguard (Blue Note 97044)
Composed by Gerry Mulligan.
Recorded: live at the Village Vanguard, New York, September 2003
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
"Rocker" is a must-have track on a CD containing ballad arrangements that turn most of them into plodding yawners. However, Gerry Mulligan's classic "Rocker," the opening number, is the kind of flawless performance you would expect from a trio like Charlap's that has been together for many years. Utilizing Mulligan's arrangement, Charlap craftily negotiates the well-known theme with a ringing tone, and then solos lucidly, mixing compressed, slithery passages with tumbling extended lines, all the while maintaining a persistent yet unhurried pace. Bassist Peter Washington is crisp and steadfast in support, and Kenny Washington's drumming is impeccable, with both his stick and brush work perfectly timed and wonderfully receptive. Unexplainably, many of the other arrangements are nowhere near the quality and effectiveness of "Rocker." This CD serves as a prime example of why the purchase of individual tracks has become such a popular alternative to buying complete CDs – in contrast to those attending a set or two of Charlap's Village Vanguard engagement in September 2003, who had to take the bad with the good.
Reviewer: Scott Albin