Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

742

Etienne Charles: Folklore

Nicholas F. Mondello By

Sign in to view read count
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 upon the mythologies and mythological characters of his Trinidadian/Afro-Caribbean heritage, Charles delivers in Folklore an old and new "testament" to the roots and future of his birthplace's native music. The selections, incorporating both instrumental and vocal forms, magnificently display the rich, diverse heritage of Afro-Caribbean music and culture.

Charles, a fourth-generation Trinidadian musician and winner of the 2006 National Trumpet Competition and other honors, performs brilliantly throughout. His playing is intelligent, emotionally charged, and flavored with the fire and spice that emanated from African roots, to the Caribbean and, ultimately, to the womb of jazz, New Orleans. Blessedly talented and highly sensitive to this music, Charles and his players all display a respect and restraint that is admirable and mature.

Rhythmic nuance, tonal diversity and intensity are the names of the games here. From the percussive and Yoruba chant entrances of the title cut through the infectiously playful calypso, "Douens," the intense "Soucouyant," pan-featured "Santimanite," and throughout the entire session, textures and pulses throb.

Charles' gorgeous, lyrical sound ("Dance with la Diablesse," "Mama Malade," "Mysterieuse") and inventive solo excursions beautifully integrate into the entire concept. There's a maturity here that belies this trumpeter's youth. Guadeloupian saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart, glides, pulls and evokes fire in all his solos. Pianist Milan Milanovic solos and comps impressively, bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Obed Calvaire, aided by guest percussionists Ralph MacDonald, D' Achee, and Ray Charles and tenor pan performer Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, are wonderfully essential elements to this mix. The recording and production values here are outstanding.

What truly distinguishes Folklore is the fact that this music is not by any means a paled or half-assed attempt at revival of "old" music. Charles' compositional approach feeds off the genre and content brilliantly. The jazz overtones provide a peek at where that genre might be headed. The music is literally visionary, so much so that, like the aforementioned Pulitzer-winning Marsalis, Charles could eventually take his bag of compositional genius into film, theatrical or operatic worlds.

Folklore is a significant musical achievement. Jazz purists might bark that there is not enough straight-ahead bopping. However, they might be cautioned that some of the interesting mythological characters alluded to in Folklore might show up unannounced to offer a pleasant, enlightened peek at the once and future jazz. As for Etienne Charles' music, based on Folklore—that future is nothing but brilliantly sunlit.

Track Listing: Folklore; Douens; Dance with la Diablesse; Laja who?; Mama Malade; Soucouyant; Mysterieuse; Mama d'lo; Santimanite; Papa Bois; Folklore (story).

Personnel: Etienne Charles: trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion, vocals, double seconds, cuatro; Jacques Schwarz-Bart: tenor, soprano saxophones; Milan Milanovic: piano; Luques Curtis, bass; Obed Calvaire: drums; Ralph MacDonald: percussion (2, 5, 9); Len "Boogsie" Sharpe tenor pan (9); D'Achee: percussion (1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11); Ray Charles: percussion (1, 2, 4, 8, 10, 11); Keith "Designer" Prescott: vocals (1, 11); Wendell Manwarten: vocals (1, 11), narrative (11); Roger Roberts: vocals (1, 11).

Title: Folklore | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
San José Suite

San José Suite

Culture Shock Music
2017

buy
San José Suite

San José Suite

Culture Shock Music
2016

buy
 

Creole Soul

Stagecrafters Theater
2013

buy
Etienne Charles: Creole Soul

Etienne Charles:...

Culture Shock Music
2013

buy
 

Kaiso

Stagecrafters Theater
2012

buy
Kaiso

Kaiso

Culture Shock Music
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Cuarteto Europa CD/LP/Track Review
Cuarteto Europa
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections CD/LP/Track Review
Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition CD/LP/Track Review
Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Intelsat CD/LP/Track Review
Intelsat
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2018
Read World Gardens CD/LP/Track Review
World Gardens
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 14, 2018
Read "The Poetry of Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review The Poetry of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "A New Shade Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A New Shade Of Blue
by Chris May
Published: August 21, 2018
Read "Walk The Walk" CD/LP/Track Review Walk The Walk
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 4, 2018
Read "The Lullaby Project" CD/LP/Track Review The Lullaby Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 22, 2018
Read "Lab 2018/The Rhythm Of The Road" CD/LP/Track Review Lab 2018/The Rhythm Of The Road
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 11, 2018
Read "IMA IMA" CD/LP/Track Review IMA IMA
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018