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Artist Profiles

Charlie O the Jazz Man

By Published: December 21, 2008
Jon Mayer
Jon Mayer
Jon Mayer
b.1938
piano
:
I'm honored to be asked to comment on Charlie's passing—He is missed. Charlie was a great man for having put together the only true "jazz joint" in L.A. I met him some six years ago through my buddy and "house" drummer Roy McCurdy. I soon began an association with the family that keeps jazz alive seven nights a week. I can't think of Charlie without thinking of his loving wife Jo-Ann. They were a real team.



Charlie and I got along great as we were both from the east coast and could understand being direct in communication. He was gruff when he needed to be but he was a pussycat most days. He really took care of the musicians which is the most salient point I can make. He loved the club (Charlie O's) and the guys who played there. He did something a few years ago that is amazing. At a tough time in the business, he invested in an upgrade that provided a wonderful new stage setting with a new piano (something pretty important to me). I will close by saying it was always a pleasure to go to work at Charlie's place.

It felt like home.





Gene Cipriano, Rose Menza, Charlie, Tom Ranier and Don Menza



Julie Kelly

Julie Kelly
Julie Kelly
b.1947
: I miss Charlie not only for his love of the music but because he was a good friend. He managed to run a jazz club and a good, old-fashioned watering hole at the same time and I loved him for that. Whether I was playing on stage or listening and hanging out, I always felt his feisty, truthful and original presence. Authenticity is at the heart of jazz, and Charlie had that quality in spades. He was one- of-a-kind, one-of-us, and the one-and-only Charlie O.



Pete Christlieb

Pete Christlieb
Pete Christlieb
b.1945
saxophone
: Charlie was a good friend and I will miss him along with the entire L.A. jazz community. He gave us place to play where most of the people come there to hear the music. Because of Charlie the Big Bands have a place to play and I know of only one other club in L.A. that has that. I play there often and every time I do I can still see Charlie sitting in his spot at the end of the bar.



Denise Donatelli

Denise Donatelli
Denise Donatelli

vocalist
: There are no words to express my sadness and shock over the loss of my dear friend, Charlie. He had a profound effect on the jazz community in Los Angeles and created a warm and inviting atmosphere where one could enjoy jazz music with world class musicians seven nights a week. I feel honored to have known Charlie and to have been given the opportunity to perform at his club. He was a warm, gracious and generous man who loved to laugh, and along with Jo-Ann, embraced me as a member of his family. I will miss him dearly.



Dave Pell

Dave Pell
Dave Pell
b.1935
saxophone
: Charlie was a very nice man and liked all kinds of jazz and the musicians that were involved. He was always helping, if it was lugging in the boxes of music, he was there to help. If it was getting the piano tuned, he would make sure it was handled. We were there for over two years on a steady basis and can't remember meeting a bigger fan than Charlie. Always interested in how we felt and how things were going. Not only the owner but a real nice friend. We will miss him.



Scott Whitfield

Scott Whitfield
Scott Whitfield
b.1963
trombone
: It is an honor for me to send a few words about my friend, the late Charlie Ottaviano.

Charlie had a smile as big as his heart, and always seemed to be having the time of his life in his seat at the end of the bar. Musicians have always been treated with the utmost respect at Charlie-O's, and have always been made to feel welcome. In fact, to this day, every time I play at Charlie-O's, I feel like a member of the family. And what a loving, swinging family it is!

Thank you, Charlie, Jo-Ann, and everyone, for your wonderful support, and for keeping this venue going in often hard economic times. Everyone who reads this must pledge to continue supporting Charlie-O's. Thank you for your time.

Tenderly



Jack Sheldon, a beacon for some 60 years on the West Coast jazz scene, the celebrated trumpet player, vocalist, bandleader, was there when the so-called West Coast Jazz, a cooled-down version of hard bop was born. Sheldon with his California Cool Quartet, a group he started in 1998 with his current lineup of Joe Bagg, piano, Jennifer Leitham, bass, and Dick Weller, drums, has been playing with the quartet as one of his regular gigs, Charlie O's in Van Nuys. Besides the jazz, there always lots of laughs. I'm having a great time, he says. Just learning and playing.



Jack Sheldon

Jack Sheldon
Jack Sheldon
b.1931
trumpet
: Charlie O was a true jazz aficionado. He was encouraging to all the cats and he kept a jazz haven where all the cats could work-out. He gave us a place to work and play. He was special. He was a special jazz cat.



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