An electric silence filled the air as the anticipation built in the room.
Framed by red velvet curtains on either side, the red neon sign glowed warmly upon the Steinway’s red accented finishes. Even the chandelier hanging above the stage picked up on the red-coloured theme, looking down knowingly at the performers. Many great names have played underneath it throughout the years, and tonight was certainly no exception.
From the moment the first notes floated free from the piano, the Bill Charlap Trio had the entire club captivated. Even the keys themselves seemed to shimmy and dance with every tender touch of the una corda.
Looking down from the Jazz Bistro’s second floor balcony, it was easy to see the mastery of this trio coming together. Charlap was joined by Kenny Washington on the drums and Peter Washington on the bass, all of them seasoned players with expert control over their art.
The band was introduced as "the most elegant trio in jazz." Such praise could not have been more fitting. During slow, mellow tunes, the trio drew all ears to lean in and listen closely. A feeling of intimacy united the entire audience as they waited to see how the sound would grow and evolve.
Mellow was not the only tone of the evening. The Bill Charlap Trio was able to tear through complex bop heads without breaking a sweat. Covering a diverse repertoire from A Sleepin’ Bee to Ornithology, nobody knew what to expect next. This was especially clear when Charlap quoted a line from the Christmas classic Sleigh Ride during a solo, to the delight of the audience.
Whether it was easing through the heads of iconic standards or playfully trading solos back and forth, the Trio was in its element from the start of the night to the end. Not a beat was skipped, not a note was out of place. Everything flowed as though it had been planned for years.
To try to describe tonight’s show with the Bill Charlap Trio is a losing battle. Words cannot fully express how the music flowed through every patron and warmed them to their cores.
The only negative with this performance was hosting it near the start of the festival. It will be quite a feat for other performers to recreate the emotions, passion, and musicianship that filled the club this evening.
As the lid of the piano was finally eased shut following the show, the Jazz Bistro was full of a profound sense of longing. Not one person who heard the Bill Charlap Trio knew when they would see a performance like this again, but they all hoped that it would come again soon.
Their job complete, the Trio spoke with their fans before parting ways, one by one. As they vanished into the cityscape, the sounds of their playing still resonated in the minds of the evening’s guests. The performance may have been fleeting, but the memories of tonight will live on forever.