Bill Charlap & Warren Vachè
This studio session featuring the duo of cornetist/fluegelhornist Warren Vache and pianist Bill Charlap deserves to rank alongside nearly any similar date recorded during the last two decades of the 20th century. Vache has been overlooked by far too many critics (which even Wynton Marsalis acknowledged in print); while Charlap has had a little easier time with the exposure he has received as a member of the Phil Woods Quintet and recording as a leader for Blue Note. Vache’s lyricism come through, whether utilizing a mute, as on the foot patting “If I Should Lose You” or a swinging “You and the Night and the Music,” or with the open horn, especially in the warm rendition of “Easy Living.” Charlap not only proves himself an incredible accompanist, but that he has a sense of humor, too, especially with his lush introduction to Duke Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss,” which briefly detours into Thelonious Monk’s “‘Round Midnight.” Although the emphasis is primarily on standards, “Nip-Hoc Waltz” (an homage to Chopin) and “Etude” (which features Vache unaccompanied) are two fine examples of Charlap’s considerable abilities as a composer. Sadly, the liner notes stick to separate biographies of each musician and don’t explain what prompted them to work together. This very entertaining date will stand up very well to repeated listening.