Alto, tenor and baritone saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase has been a mainstay of Boston’s jazz scene for over twenty years. Whether leading his two newest bands, performing in a dozen others or writing over 50 compositions, his music spans a broad range of styles with an emphasis on the contemporary and the improvised.
Born and raised in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (11/28/56), Charlie began playing saxophones at 18. After private studies with Stan Strickland and Roswell Rudd , he moved to Boston in 1980.
In 1989, he formed the Charlie Kohlhase Quintet , an ongoing project that has performed locally and nationally for a decade and half. Their long-awaited live 2-CD set, “Play Free Or Die,” has been released on the Boxholder label to critical acclaim. Kohlhase also leads the CK5, a second quintet that recently released its live debut, “CK5 Live!” Charlie's two newest bands, Explorer's Club and Saxophone Support Group , are charting new territory. Explorer's Club , another quintet for Kohlhase, builds upon his long relationship with New England saxophonist Matt Langley. SSG is an ever-changing quartet to octet of local sax luminaries.
Other recent activities include work with the Nate McBride Quartet, Matt Steckler’s Dead Cat Bounce, and Chris Allen’s Central Artery Project. He also performs with The Estate, the Charlie Kohlhase/Matt Langley Saxophone Duo, and the Chuck Gabriel Septet.
In addition, he co-led groups with the great Danish/Congolese saxophonist John Tchicai for New England tours in 1997, 1998 and 2003. Charlie was also a member of Either/Orchestra from 1987 to 2001, playing throughout North America, Europe and Russia. His recordings with Tchicai and Roswell Rudd have received critical acclaim.