Charlie Young with the John Toomey Trio at the Attucks Theater

Mark Robbins By

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Native son Charlie Young returned home to teach a master class to a group of eager Old Dominion University jazz students then perform to a sold out audience at the Attucks Theater. Young's journey began in one of Norfolk's housing projects and has led him to being the Professor of Jazz saxophone at Howard University for the past 20 years and recently appointed as the Coordinator of Jazz Studies. He has performed and recorded with the National Symphony Orchestra, US Navy Band, the Count Basie Orchestra as well as the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. In 1988 he was recruited to be a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra where he is now the lead saxophonist and occasional conductor. In 2013 Young was appointed Artistic Director and Conductor of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Charlie has traveled all over the world presenting jazz clinics and classes in jazz and classical saxophone.

All of which brings us to the Attucks Theater on Saturday night when Charlie Young came back to the city of his birth. In the audience were old friends and family who had never seen him perform before. He gave them a night to remember. From "Turning Point," "Monk's Mood," "Children of the Night," "From this Moment On," just to name a few of the tunes in his two sets, Young's rich sound and improvisational skills blended seamlessly with John Toomey on piano, Jimmy Masters on bass and Jae Sinnett on drums. Reminiscing between numbers about growing up in Norfolk, exchanging shout outs with the audience, Young seemed extra comfortable playing for many of his home town friends. They made sure this native son knew he was welcomed back anytime.
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