Understated elegance. Sophistication. Warmth. The Bill Charlap Trio and Freddy Cole brought all that and more to the Capitol Theater Saturday night with an evening of jazz classics from the Great American Songbook.
Since Cole both sings and plays the piano, the musicians took turns - sometimes the trio played alone, sometimes they backed Cole on vocals, and sometimes Cole took the seat at the piano while he sang. And once Charlap and Cole played side-by-side at the piano.
Listening to the four musicians felt like being invited to an intimate dinner party with good friends - an evening of comfortable, natural, (musical) conversation punctuated with humor and an unspoken understanding that flowed beneath it all.
Cole is a consummate storyteller and his smoky, warm voice conveyed the soul of the song. Now in his 80s, he brings real depth and authenticity to the music of his own generation.
And Charlap, Kenny Washington (drums) and Peter Washington (bass), always played with enough depth and intelligence to make them equal partners with Cole, yet stayed subtle enough not to compete with Cole when he was singing.
The audience seemed to appreciate the musical feast with a warm reception and standing ovation.