Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes
Courtesy photo
Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes

A collaborative journey

Vermont Jazz Center hosts jazz pianists Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes for a live concert on May 13

BRATTLEBORO — The Vermont Jazz Center welcomes Renee Rosnes and Bill Charlap, who will perform on two Steinway concert grand pianos at the VJC on Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.

A married couple, Rosnes and Charlap are considered among the finest jazz pianists of their generation.

Charlap is an unparalleled expert on the Great American Songbook, and Rosnes is a five-time Juno Award–winning pianist/composer and artistic director of the Oscar Peterson Jazz Festival.

Rosnes' and Charlap's devotion to the music and to each other is symbolized by their choice to marry at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, a New York City jazz club, displaying their commitment to jazz and each other in one big statement. While performing with Rosnes on Marian McPartland's radio program Piano Jazz, Charlap claimed that “it's perfectly apropos that we should be married in a place that centers around music, as our lives center around music and each other.”

The living room of Rosnes and Charlap's New Jersey home is taken up mostly by two Steinway grand pianos. When asked by McPartland if they ever play together “for fun,” Rosnes replied, “All the time - that's mostly what we do!”

She continued by saying that the two of them “spend a lot of time at the piano. It can be 2 in the morning or whenever we feel like it - we can sit down and play.”

For those of us in the jazz community, it is intriguing to imagine the ephemeral sounds emanating from their home as they play alone or together in the wee hours of the morning.

A review in M Music & Musicians magazine states that “Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes are not like most couples. By the time they married in 2007, each was already a world-renowned jazz pianist with an impressive discography and a packed touring itinerary.”

In discussing their approach to their duo presentations, Charlap mused: “We don't alter our playing styles for each other. We just listen and react. The result is a new entity comprised of both our voices.”

“Certainly both of us have distinct styles, but there is also a lot of common ground that existed before we ever sat down to play together,” Rosnes added. “Being married, there is also an intimate spirit that comes through in the music.”

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Rosnes and Charlap are both currently touring their most recent releases: Charlap's Street of Dreams and Rosnes' Kinds of Love. Because they are so busy with their own personal careers, their duo performances are rare and celebrated. Because this concert will not be live streamed or recorded and because it's nearly impossible to find their work on streaming or social media sites, it is a must-see.

Their music is available on CD or via music streaming services via their 2010 collaborative Blue Note album Double Portrait. According to Rosnes' website, “[t]he album is a sparkling set of four-hand piano duets that traverses many of the couple's musical touchstones.”

The album is “a work of significance and depth, but also flows with the casual and organic quality of musicians with an uncommon simpatico, in life as well as in art,” the description continued.

Double Portrait is filled with choice bossa novas and lesser-known gems from the Great American Songbook. Rosnes and Charlap will likely be performing a similar set at the Vermont Jazz Center. Their deeply rooted repertoire is filled with joyful surprises and generously informed by the two artists' rich and diverse experiences.

Charlap 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.

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Born in New York City, Charlap began playing the piano at age 3. His father was Broadway composer Moose Charlap, whose credits include Peter Pan. His mother is Grammy-nominated vocalist Sandy Stewart who appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. She also toured with Benny Goodman and Perry Como.

Charlap is a distant cousin of piano legend Dick Hyman, with whom his family is still very close. In interviews, Charlap shares colorful stories of growing up in a musical family amid the company of some of the finest Broadway composers, lyricists, and actors of his parents' generation. His music embodies the intersection of jazz and Broadway musicals.

He is strongly influenced by the best of Broadway and Tin Pan Alley, but when it's his turn to interpret this repertoire, he digs in, asserting his own interpretations and impeccable sense of rhythm. His love for and knowledge of the Great American Songbook is conveyed in the songs he chooses to perform and record.

He is celebrating his 19th year as artistic director of New York City's Jazz in July Festival at 92NY. He has also produced concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center and New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

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The Canadian-born Rosnes relocated in 1986 from Vancouver to New York, where she was quickly recognized as a major talent. She has recorded and toured with the absolute top-tier of jazz soloists, including Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, J.J. Johnson, Buster Williams, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, and Bobby Hutcherson.

From 2004 to 2009, Rosnes was a member of the SFJAZZ Collective and from 2008 to 2010 she was the radio host of Jazz Profiles, an interview series produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Rosnes has released more than 19 albums as a leader and performed on more than 300 recordings as a sideperson. As a leader, she has performed with string quartets and called on the talents of other world-class musicians like Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Jack DeJohnette, Zakir Hussain, Christian McBride, Chris Potter, Nicholas Payton, Steve Nelson, and many others.

A formidable composer, she was named The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada's Composer of the Year in 2023.

Rosnes currently tours as a bassist for Ron Carter's Quartet and is the music director for Artemis, an all-star international band.

This concert promises a rare opportunity for viewers/listeners to experience in real time a collaborative journey of two artists at the top of their game as they explore a repertoire that includes choice selections from the Great American Songbook, Brazilian gems, and harmonically rich original compositions.

Rosnes and Charlap will delight and amaze us with their passionate delivery, exquisite technique, and telepathic interplay.

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Renee Rosnes and Bill Charlap will perform at the Vermont Jazz Center, 72 Cotton Mill Hill #222, Brattleboro, on Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.; no live streams will be broadcast. Mask wearing is optional, and light refreshments will be available. Tickets (sliding fee, $21 to $51) are available at For information, ticket purchase support, and to arrange accessibility accommodations, email [email protected].

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