Etienne Charles: Creole Christmas

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Etienne Charles: Creole Christmas
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Etienne Charles: Creole Christmas says
Etienne Charles will bring his tropical approach to holiday classics from the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. He is one of the most compelling and exciting young artists ushering jazz into groundbreaking new territory. Still in his twenties, this trumpeter/bandleader has already recorded three impressive and well-received albums for his own Culture Shock Music imprint. His new album, Creole Soul, is a captivating journey of new jazz expression. It buoyantly taps into a myriad of styles rooted in his Afro-Caribbean background and plumbs the musical depths of the islands, from calypso to Haitian voodoo music. Also in the jazz amalgam mix are rocksteady, reggae, belair, kongo, and rock as well as the influence of Motown and R&B music that Charles listened to on his parents’ record player when he was growing up.

“Jazz is Creole music,” says Charles who was born in Trinidad, relocated first to Florida and then to New York to further his jazz studies (graduating from Florida State’s and Juilliard’s jazz programs, respectively). Today, he teaches jazz trumpet at Michigan State University. “As a person in the new world, I’ve been influenced by so much music. And my family has a mixed background, with French Caribbean, Spanish, and African roots as well as Venezuelan influences. I come from a fusion of rhythms, a fusion of cultures. That’s what this album is all about: focusing on soul music that is Creole at heart.”

As befitting an artist who excels in such a diversity of musical styles, Charles has performed with a range of musicians, from Roberta Flack, René Marie, and David Rudder to Wynton Marsalis, Johnny Mandel, the Count Basie Orchestra, and Maria Schneider. Charles also worked with steel-pan all-star Len “Boogsie” Sharpe as well as jazz masters Frank Foster and Benny Golson. In June 2012, Etienne Charles was written into the US Congressional Record for his musical contributions to Trinidad and Tobago and the world.

“One of [jazz’s] more ambitious soloists and composers.”—New York Times

“A daring improviser, Charles also delivers with heart-wrenching lyricism”—JazzTimes
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By: Musical Instrument Museum - MIM