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Double Portrait

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 8, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes, two of the premiere pianists in Jazz, and also husband and wife, have joined forces to record their first collaborative album, Double Portrait. The album is a sparkling set of four-hand piano duets that traverses many of the couple's musical touchstones including the great jazz composers (Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson), Great American Songbook composers (George & Ira Gershwin, Howard Dietz & Arthur Schwartz), and one of Rosnes' own striking original compositions.

The depth of musical experience shared between Charlap and Rosnes is truly staggering. Charlap is a two-time Grammy Award nominee and the son of two renowned musicians (Broadway composer Moose Charlap and pop singer Sandy Stewart) who has performed with icons such as Tony Bennett, Phil Woods and Gerry Mulligan, and served as the musical director of The Blue Note 7. The Canadian-born Rosnes is a four-time Juno Award winner who has collaborated with legends the likes of Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson and J.J. Johnson, and has also been the pianist and contributing composer in the dynamic SFJAZZ Collective. It's a happy musical marriage that both proclaim is "a natural evolution of our partnership and love for each other."

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 8, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B003EPPEPY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,596 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Double Portrait is a work of art. As a duo, Rosnes and Charlap know how to balance each other's voices so that the two piano format reveals a kind of three-dimensional listening experience. The sound is orchestral. How can two pianists, playing simultaneously, maintain such transparency? It is breathtaking and elevating. Each track sounds as though the pianists are the composers (true, of course, on one track)--and the CD rewards the listener time and time again--it is a master class on harmonic choices, listening, and time. Each pianist knows the music on the level of DNA, and the playing has the type of creative fervor, super-charged, of two people who know how to marshal creative powers to release an intimate magic--there is grace, effervescence, and a few moments where improvisation is taken to an almost manic edge. Both pianists' control of tone color is exemplary--listening to the artistry of Rosnes/Charlap can put one in the mindset of looking at a Monet. The first track is a desert island track--the listener can be reminded, even when alone and under that merciless sun, of the sheer joy two people can share when stars in the jazz firmament align. The CD would be a romantic gift extraordinaire for any music lover, but anyone who cares about the art of musical communication should buy it and listen very, very closely.
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Format: Audio CD
Minutes ago, after their performance in our city's "West End Cultural Centre" (a small theatre with terrific acoustics) I spoke with Canadian-born Renee Rosnes and her American husband, Bill Charlap.

"I came here tonight to see YOU, Bill Charlap," I said, "having seen you in the (Clint Eastwood produced) Johnny Mercer television special - and having heard you interviewed just the other day by (NYC FM & Sirius Radio show host) Jonathan Schwartz. But I have to tell you," I said, "that like marriage itself - SHE's the `better half'!" Bill took it the right way, laughing and agreeing, "She really IS!"

I asked them the name of the remarkable song - a virtuosic powerhouse number "a fountain of sheer joy," I said with which they closed tonight's show; (it's track one on this CD). Repeating myself, I said it was "the most amazing, joyful outpouring of sound from two pianos that I could ever imagine! What's it called?"

"Chorinho," said Renee, spelling it for me and giving it the proper Brazilian (Portugese) pronunciation. "It's the first track on our latest CD," she said. "Wish we had a free copy for you," said Bill. "No, no," I said. "I insist, on principle, on purchasing my own copy!" (which I did, a few minutes later in the theatre lobby - purchasing their last copy as they were closing for the night).

"It sounded to me like a Clare Fischer composition," I said. "It was written by Lyle Mays," said Bill. "He is an amazing piano player who has worked with Pat Matheny."

I told my "new favorite piano duo" that "my previous standard for judging four-handed piano performances were the teams of Hank Jones & Tommy Flanagan, and Dave Grusin with Chick Corea.
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Format: Audio CD
Double Portrait is a exploration in musical sensitivity, musical virtuosity, musical subtlety and musical equality. Renee Rosnes and Bill Charlap, two of today's premier pianists in the world of jazz, have joined together to create a remarkable tour de force that is sometimes gentle, sometimes giant. It's seamless in every way often times defying classification as well as defying typical piano duo recordings. Like its title suggests, it is a true double portrait as each pianist shares in the others' repertoire and individual style. This project poses an important question though: Where does one pianist end and the other begin? Double Portrait then begs an even deeper question: Are there two pianos and four hands on this recording or is this really one pianist, one mind and soul? These are excellent questions that Charlap and Rosnes raise through their obvious passion. I recommended you give it a listen and try to answer for yourself. But, be warned: if this recording doesn't keep your interest, check your heart and make sure it still beats.

(By the way, highly recommended!)
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Format: MP3 Music
Double Portrait brings together two of the finest artists on the jazz scene today. Rene Rosnes and Bill Charlap create a blend of jazz styles that makes this album a potential classic remembered for years to come. I've seen Rosnes and Charlap perform both together and separately over the years. They have clearly pulled away from today's stable of jazz pianists to become musical icons. Simply put, this album is a gem.
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