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Somewhere: The Songs Of Leonard Bernstein (2004)

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Bill Charlap

Similar to 2000's Hoagy Carmichael-based Stardust, Somewhere: The Songs of Leonard Bernstein finds pianist Bill Charlap continuing his exploration of great American composers. A longtime fan of Bernstein's work, Charlap conveys a very personal feeling throughout the album. Some may ask, why is another jazz trio album of standards necessary? Charlap answers this admirably with highly sophisticated yet direct arrangements and his usual stellar improvisational skills. Many of the songs from West Side Story work astonishingly well in a modern jazz format. Notably, "America" receives an expansive McCoy Tyner meets Tito Puente treatment, while "Jump" is serious post-bop Raymond Scott. Joining Charlap are his longtime collaborators bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. Together, the trio showcase an uncanny sense of timing and group interplay that only comes from years of performing together. ~ Matt Collar