Home » Jazz Articles » Take Five With Charlie Harrington


Take Five With...

Take Five With Charlie Harrington


Sign in to view read count

Meet Charlie Harrington:

The consummate Charlie Harrington has been playing drums since the age of five and has played professionally since the age of 15.

He studied with Ray Bauduc for two years and later with Tim Tull and went on to finish First Place in the Slingerland/Louie Bellson National Drum Contest.

Additionally, Charlie is the recipient of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award. He has also taken master classes with Ed Soph, Louie Bellson, Donny Osborne, Joe Morello, and Ed Shaughnessy.

A child prodigy, Charlie has performed with Woody Herman, Freddie Green, Stan Mark, The Jazz Connection, The Cactus Rose Project, James Simmons, David Holcombe and Karen Wylie. His blues playing credits include sharing the stage with Joe "Guitar" Hughes and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

An inventive, highly skilled, and versatile performer, Charlie is comfortable in everything from trio and small group settings to big band ensembles. He's known for sophisticated rhythms, distinctive accompaniment, and powerful solos.



Teachers and/or influences?

My main teachers were Ray Bauduc and Tim Tull. I can't even begin to list all the people I've been influenced by and have checked out. I have many influences but the major ones are Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Joe Morello, Ed Shaughnessy, Butch Miles, and Peter Erskine.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I always wanted to be a musician. I was constantly tapping out rhythms on anything I could get my hands on when I was little. I'd sit mesmerized watching dance and variety shows and be in envy of the drummers playing on the shows. It was never an option to seriously consider anything else.

Your sound and approach to music:

You need to listen to everyone you're playing with and play for the ensemble and not for yourself. It's not so much about what you play but what you don't play.

It's about the space between the notes. If you imagine yourself as an audience member listening to the music and then play what you'd like to hear as that audience member, you're on the right path. Technique and chops are great but they need to be applied musically and tastefully.

Your dream band:

That's a hard one but I'll give it a try. There are so many people I admire on their respective instruments but my choice for bass is Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen. NHØP's phrasing, sound, and ability to swing was amazing.

Guitar is a tough one also but I'd have to give the nod to Anthony Wilson. This man is so versatile it's staggering.

On the piano I'll go with Count Basie. His ability to say so much by saying so little still blows me away. Thank God we have so many of his recordings to enjoy.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

I can't recall the first album purchased but two of the early ones I do remember are:

Buddy Rich, Stick It;
Al Hirt, The Greatest Horn in the World.

Music you are listening to now:

Bill Stewart, Think Before You Think (Blue Note);
Cindy Blackman, Works on Canvas (Lava Jazz);
Ray Brown, This is Ray Brown;
Maynard Ferguson, M.F. Horn, Vol. 1.

Post a comment

For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Jazz article: Meet Tubist Jim Shearer
Take Five With...
Meet Tubist Jim Shearer
Jazz article: Take Five With Pianist Olivia Perez-Collellmir
Jazz article: Take Five With Bassist / Composer Jakob Dreyer


Read The Ten Best  Jazz Christmas Albums Of All Time
Read Giving Thanks & Sharing the Jazz Love
Read Record Store Day Black Friday 2023: Jazz Releases
Read The Most Exciting Jazz albums since 1969: 2006-2009

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.