For the music lovers, this coming weekend is a delight of something classic, something new, something borrowed and a whole lot of blues. Starting off with David Bromberg for two shows (one on Feb. 28 and another sold out program on March 1), it’s a four-night weekend at the Jeanne Rimsky Theater. Bromberg joins a powerhouse lineup that includes the Bill Charlap Trio’s Leonard Bernstein Centennial on March 3 and Jose James’ Lean On Me Bill Withers Tribute on March 4.
Bromberg, whom Jerry Jeff Walker called, “The reason man created stringed instruments,” has been touring in support of his latest release, The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing But The Blues (Red House Records). Produced by longtime Bob Dylan and Levon Helm collaborator Larry Campbell, Bromberg’s first album since 2013 is a wonderfully curated selection of deep cuts from the blues genre, in addition to original compositions. Bromberg found his inspiration for the album when he heard Willie Nelson repeat a quote from Texas fiddler Johnny Gimble: “there’s only two kinds of music—the Star Spangled Banner and the blues.” This is Bromberg’s 18th album, the latest in a solo career that began in 1971 with his self-titled debut.
Charlap, considered to be one of the premiere interpreters of the music of Leonard Bernstein, brings his celebrated Trio to the Jeanne Rimsky stage on Saturday night for an evening of music by one of America’s great composers.
The Grammy Award-winning pianist has performed with many of the leading artists of our time including Phil Woods, Tony Bennett, Gerry Mulligan, Wynton Marsalis, Freddy Cole and Houston Person. Born in New York City, Charlap began playing the piano at age three. His father was Broadway composer Moose Charlap, whose credits include Peter Pan, and his mother is singer Sandy Stewart, who toured with Benny Goodman, and was a regular on The Perry Como Show. In 2005, Charlap and Stewart released the acclaimed CD, Love Is Here To Stay (Blue Note).
In 1997, Charlap formed his trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington, now recognized as one of the leading groups in jazz. In 2000, he received two Grammy Award nominations for Somewhere: The Songs of Leonard Bernstein and The Bill Charlap Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard.
In 2017, Charlap celebrated his 13th year as artistic director of New York City’s Jazz in July Festival at 92Y. He has produced concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Chicago Symphony Center and the Hollywood Bowl. Charlap is married to renowned jazz pianist and composer Renee Rosnes, and the two artists often collaborate in a duo piano setting. In 2010, Charlap and Rosnes released Double Portrait (Blue Note).
A deep and soulful young vocalist whose international profile has exploded in the last few years, José James has transcended his reputation as a jazz singer to embrace influences including R&B, Moroccan Gnawa music, hip-hop and gospel. On the heels of 2015’s beguiling Billie Holiday centennial tribute Yesterday I Had the Blues and the electro-pop of this year’s Love in a Time of Madness, James returns with a celebration of the music of iconic soul singer and composer Bill Withers.
James’ flexibility and omnivorous musical taste is reflected in his hugely diverse résumé, which includes work with jazz great Chico Hamilton as well as electronica hero Flying Lotus. In his review for The New York Times, writer Ben Ratliff described James as “a romantic baritone with a deep-funk band, stretching out songs, evoking both the ’70s of Roberta Flack and Gil Scott-Heron and the ’90s and oughts of J Dilla.”
In a program called Lean on Me, James offers his reverent-yet-expansive take on Withers classics including “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Use Me,” and “Just the Two of Us, backed by a stellar band.
Vetted personally by Withers himself, the show is an exploration of the deep musical catalog that touched millions of hearts and united communities worldwide. Featuring Withers’ top 10 hits as well as his soul ballads and rare grooves, James brings both a deep musical appreciation and a contemporary approach to songs. Fittingly, James has assembled a truly all-star cast of musicians to play with him: Nate Smith on drums, Reuben Rodgers on bass, James Francies on keys and Brad Allen Williams on guitar.
Tickets are available through Landmark’s box office at 516-767-6444 and online at www.landmarkonmainstreet.org.
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