In the dawn of the 21st century, pianist Bill Charlap took the jazz world by storm with a series of rewarding albums for labels both in the U.S. and abroad. On Blues in the Night, he leads his New York Trio in a recording made for the Japanese label Venus, with veteran bassist Jay Leonhart and fellow young gun Bill Stewart joining him. Right away Charlap signals that he can take an old chestnut into a new direction. His stretched-out, blues-drenched "Blues in the Night" makes effective use of space and showcases his sidemen as well. Leonhart's buoyant bassline brings to mind the late Milt Hinton in the brisk rendition of "I Could Have Danced All Night." Charlap's intense workout of "Blue Skies" is a virtual jazz history lesson, showing the influence of a number of legendary pianists, while achieving a sound distinctly his own. His loping, jaunty approach to "My Funny Valentine" is another winner; equally playful is the snappy waltz treatment of "Tenderly," accented by Stewart's brushwork. One of the most promising pianists of his generation, this Charlap CD is highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden