The president of the JPEC organization was on hand; as he has been at every concert I’ve attended. The JPEC president, Mr. Koskie is a laid back gentleman, an ardent jazz fan and has a vision that a jazz centre can and will be acquired for Toronto. He told me, "We already have the site picked out."
The final song of the evening, "Chelsea Bridge" by Billy Strayhorn, the song was announced by Bill Charlap on his return to the stage upon a rousing encore - a standing ovation for their ninety minute performance.
The two pianists shared the spotlight trading lines and the time to speak with the audience. Upon the completion of the first song, Ms. Rosnes announced the tune "Never Will I Marry" this garnered some chuckles from the audience as she also introduced Mr. Charlap as her husband. Rosnes also made proud mention of Canadian content, as the next composition, a Jobim tune with lyrics by Hamilton born, Gene Lees, "Double Rainbow" was introduced.
Bill Charlap plays the rhythm while Renee Rosnes plays runs on top of the rhythm, under the rhythm, over it and all around. A constant flow of improvisational explorations in every colour of the rainbow. Her emotions run the range of elegant sophistication to knock out storm proportions. Fresh, vibrant playing that seems to shower notes of joy throughout the audience.
On Joe Henderson’s "Inner Urge" the duet swing like mad, laying down heavy handed licks in a fast buoyant style that is full of energy. On the show tune "My Man’s Gone Now" the audience was treated to a ballad of diversity with Rosnes all about elegance and Charlap displaying plenty of swing.
The duet flowed with ease, playing song after song, announcing all of the song titles and each song featured a different element of the duets style. "Without A Song" powerful chords, fast runs. Rosnes plays a solid post bop style - while Bill Charlap hits a stride style.
"Anna Maria", a Wayne Shorter composition, a lively tune that celebrates the life of Shorter’s wife Anna Maria. Anna Maria Shorter and niece Dalila Lucien (daughter of singer Jon Lucien) were killed when TWA Flight 800 crashed in 1996. As Renee Rosnes so delicately put it, "An incredible tragedy." Rosnes and Charlap, played the song with stirring passion and serious intensity. They played the song as if a long time married couple, complimenting each other in perfect harmony, finishing each others musical thoughts as if connected.
The duet continued playing a mix of jazz melody and harmony, some standards, including a Gerry Mulligan composition, a Benny Golson tune, "Stablemates" and an original by Rosnes, "The Saros Cycle". Rosnes and Charlap announced their new arrival, a first for the couple, a CD entitled Double Portrait Blue Note Records scheduled for release June 8, 2010. I’ve pre-ordered mine.