Etienne Charles with his All Star Band Jazz on D Hill Holy Cross College Arima, Trinidad May 11, 2014 On a picturesque plateau above the town of Arima overlooking the distant Caroni plains on the island of Trinidad, the Holy Cross College Alumni produced a jazz event for the ages--Jazz on D Hill-- featuring an All Star Tribute to Ralph MacDonald on Mother's Day, May 11. The music of the late Trini-by-blood musician, composer and producer (MacDonald's father was the popular Trinidadian calypsonian, Macbeth The Great, resident in Harlem in the ...read more
Etienne Charles Little Carib Theatre Creole Soul Port of Spain, Trinidad November 30, 2013 Fresh from an exciting TEDx Port of Spain talk in the morning, the always dapper Etienne Charles and his band delivered a superb set of jazz at the gala opening of his Creole Soul tour stop in Trinidad on the evening of November 30 at the Little Carib Theatre in Port of Spain. A homecoming of sorts--this is the second return on this tour having performed at Jazz on the Beach in April this year in Tobago--this stop solidifies the ...read more
Etienne Charles and Creole Soul SubCulture New York, NY November 8, 2013 Fresh from his three-week residency at Doha's Jazz At Lincoln Center, Etienne Charles along with his band, Creole Soul, took to NYC's SubCulture on a chilly autumn evening. Charles and the band played to a packed audience at the beautiful NoHo venue and to special guests including Newport Jazz Festival founder George Wein and songwriter William Salter--best known for penning the Grover Washington, Jr. classic, Mr. Magic." Charles was joined by alto-saxophonist Brian Hogans, guitarist Alex Wintz, pianist Victor Gould, ...read more
With his simple declaration, sound is my art...I just try to create," Trinidadian jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles puts into context his role of creator and producer in relation to his latest recording. This new album, previewed earlier this year in Tobago at Jazz on the Beach at Mt Irvine, reveals an evolution of his art that parallels the jazz idiom's most eclectic trumpeter and influence. The fourth studio album from this US-based musician and teacher bristles with a kind of energy that comes from the realization that one has gone beyond; beyond the usual expectations of a Caribbean ...read more
Trinidadian-born trumpeter Etienne Charles has made it a point to share the culture of his native homeland with the world through music, whether it is writing songs on cuatro or steel pan, incorporating Kweyol chants on the opening track to his latest album Creole Soul (Culture Shock, 2013), or playing with an undeniable Caribbean bounce that caused the audience of Dizzy's Club Coca Cola to form a conga line through the venue during his album release show for Kaiso (Culture Shock, 2011). Since his debut, Culture Shock (Self Produced, 2006), Charles has been showing audiences that he is able to ...read more
With Kaiso, trumpeter Etienne Charles revisits his robust Trinidad-Tobago roots, brilliantly exposing their beauty, mystery and fascinating flavors. The fruits of Charles and crew's labor blossom from multiple Caribbean grooves into a highly energized performance, with more jazz-tinged interpretations than his prior outing, the highly acclaimed Folklore (Self-Produced, 2009). The title tune, from an African word loosely defined as proceed" (as in play on"), is dark and hard. With the frontline boiling hot over a pulsing harmonic and rhythmic base, it announces, musically, that this effort will stray in a different, more complex musical direction. J'overt Barrio" ...read more
The names Aldwyn Roberts and Slinger Francisco might not ring a bell in jazz circles, but trumpeter Etienne Charles' Kaiso helps to rectify that issue. Charles pays tribute to these two giants of calypso music, better known respectively as Lord Kitchener and Mighty Sparrow, and explores the fusion of Caribbean music, Latin rhythms, the sounds of New Orleans, and modern jazz, throughout this ambitious program of music. While Charles may be guilty of trying to cover too much ground on Kaiso, that also happens to be one of the album's greatest draws. Charles creates a template of ...read more
Trumpeter Etienne Charles' Folklore is a wonderful, colorful, vibrant recording filled with Caribbean flavor, Latin grooves and solid jazz arrangements and solos. A percussionist and composer as well, the 26-year-old Charles has an extremely unique trumpet sound that is his and his alone. He doesn't sound like Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, or Miles Davis, nor does he sound like fellow West Indian native, the Jamaican-born Dizzy Reece (a trumpet sensation of the 1950s and 1960s and one the Caribbean's most famous jazz musicians).
Charles tends to favor a mostly bright and optimistic sound. Folklore's strongest selection, Douens," an upbeat kaiso ...read more
There appears to be a trend developing--and a positive one, whereby young jazz artists drive the future of their--and ultimately our--music by reviving the musical heritage of the past. And, by exploring and leveraging the fundamental power and beauty of that music, they create new and vibrant musical art. Certainly the most widely known of these retro-explorers is Wynton Marsalis. With Folklore, an offering of both compositional and instrumental brilliance, trumpeter/composer Etienne Charles admirably solidifies his place as an explorer, a true griot and visionary. Using the thematic structure of a suite of original compositions all based ...read more
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