Bill Charlap is one of the strongest mainstream jazz pianists on the scene and one of the most gifted interpreters of standards. He grew up in a musical household, as the son of Broadway songwriter Moose Charlap and singer Sandy Stewart. Taking to the piano at a young age, he went on to study at New York's High School of Performing Arts. He then entered college, but rather than finishing, opted to practice and gig on his own. Pianist Bill Mays soon took up Charlap's cause, recommending the young man as his replacement in the Gerry Mulligan Quartet. During this time, Charlap also worked with Benny Carter, Clark Terry, and Frank Wess, and was sought after as an accompanist for singers such as Tony Bennett, Carol Sloane, and Sheila Jordan. In 1995, he secured one of the most coveted piano chairs in jazz, with the Phil Woods Quintet.