Other Places: Charlap On Improvisation

Last Friday, Leonard Lopate of WNYC radio in New York invited Bill Charlap to drop by Charlap Portrait.jpgthe studio where Lopate does his Please Explain program and talk about how jazz improvisation works. Seated at the piano, Charlap spoke clearly about the raw materials of music and showed what jazz players do with them in the act of creation. He used “These Foolish Things” and the blues as his demonstration models. Lopate, a personification of the inquiring mind, asked good questions. He reached a couple of layman’s conclusions with which CharlapLopate.jpg politely and firmly disagreed. Toward the end of the half hour of good conversation and music, Lopate and Charlap took a few calls from canny listeners. It is all entertaining and instructive, even for those who may know, or think they know, the answers. To hear the program, click on the arrow in the box below. You will get a brief WNYC promotional announcement, then the show.

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  1. rootlesscosmo says

    That’s a great clip–thanks for posting it. I smiled when he said “We’re going to play ‘These Foolish Things’ in E flat,” because it’s the standard key, and again when he chose G major for the blues–not the tenor player’s default B flat, but the standard key of “After Hours.” What a pretty tone Charlap gets! And what a good instrument in the studio, too.