Jazz CD Reviews
Bill Charlap & Sandy Stewart: Love Is Here To Stay – Bill Charlap, piano; Sandy Stewart, vocals – Blue Note
Published on November 29, 2005
Charlap, piano; Sandy Stewart, vocals – Blue Note 7243 5 60340 2 OV –
56 min. ***:
This disc represents the first recording together for brilliant pianist
Bill Charlap and cabaret singer Sandy Stewart, who also happens to be
Bill Charlap’s mother. They’ve decided to avoid the more common lavish
approach to this collection of Broadway showtunes and chosen a more
intimate setting, totally avoiding any vocal theatrics. The focus is on
Ms. Stewart’s lyrical delivery, and Bill Charlap’s exquisite pianisms.
Taken individually, the songs are superb, and Charlap is given plenty
of room to stretch out, although he tastefully avoids excess. This
album is definitely a labor of love between mother and son.
That said, the mood here is a bit too subdued, and most of the songs
are a little melancholy to be taken in too big a dose. While there are
highlights that occasionally break the mood, such as “Always,” “Here I
Am In Love Again” (written by Charlap’s father, Broadway composer Moose
Charlap), and “I’ll Never Go There Anymore,” the mood remains pensive,
and was tough sledding in a single session. Unfortunately, Sandy
Stewart’s alto is past its prime, and that only exacerbated the
proceedings. Taken individually, I found the songs quite effective, and
very thought-provoking for inclusion in late-nite listening mixes – but
a bit wearing when taken as a whole.
Sound quality is superb – Bill Charlap’s piano and Ms. Stewart’s vocals
have a very realistic “in the room” presence. I’d try it, though,
before buying it, if possible – who knows, it might just be right up
your (tin pan) alley.
Tracks: Love is Here to Stay; After You; The Boy Next Door; Happiness
is Just a Thing Called Joe/A Sleepin’Bee; Always; Here I Am In Love
Again; I’ve Got a Crush on You/Do It Again!; Where is Me?; Dancing on
the Ceiling; It Might As Well Be Spring; I’ll Never Go There Anymore.
— Tom Gibbs