Etienne Charles: Creole Soul

March 4-8

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Co-Sponsored by: Gary Sarachan & Margaret Fox, Hesse Martone, P.C.

SUBSCRIPTIONS NOW ON SALE: single tickets go on sale August 7th

Over its century-plus history, jazz has forged its shape-shifting identity by encompassing a rainbow of musical dialects in an improvisation-infused setting. While jazz’s potency launched into popular appeal based on the integration of the European classical music sensibility and the grassroots of African-American cultural heritage, it has not remained a static idiom. Indeed, jazz has become organically enlarged, expanded and revitalized by cultivating new influences into the tradition, from the Afro-Cuban movement of the ’40s to today’s artists embracing their ethnic heritage.

One of the most compelling and exciting young jazz artists ushering the genre into groundbreaking new territory is trumpeter/bandleader Etienne Charles, who, still in his 20s, 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 rock steady, reggae, belair, kongo and rock as well as the influence of Motown and R&B music 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 New York to further his jazz studies (graduating, respectively, from Florida State’s and Juilliard’s jazz programs) and today 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 with such a diversity of musical styles, Charles has performed with a range of musicians, from Roberta Flack, Rene Marie and David Rudder to Wynton Marsalis, Johnny Mandel, the Count Basie Orchestra and Maria Schneider. He also worked with steel pan all-star Len “Boogsie” Sharpe as well as jazz masters Frank Foster and Benny Golson.


"A daring improviser, Charles also delivers with heart-wrenching lyricism"

"…had strength and a clear, almost classical sense of thematic organization."

Upcoming Shows

JUN. 20
Route 66 Jazz Orchestra
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The Route 66 Jazz Orchestra is a 20-piece group dedicated to the preservation and promotion of “Big Band” jazz through performance, education, and community involvement. Founded in 1969 by Dr. Ron Stillwell as the Meramec Jazz Lab Band, Route 66 Jazz continues to act as jazz ambassadors for the community.

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JUN. 21-22
Roosevelt Collier

JUN. 28-29
Denise Thimes
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In a career that spans over three decades, Denise Thimes has truly been one of the most cherished voices of modern jazz, and for two-nights she’ll fill the Bistro with the sounds of one our region’s best voices.

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JUN. 15, 19, 21, 23, 27 & 29
FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES: co-commissioned w. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
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Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s 2019 world premiere Fire Shut Up in My Bones, was co-commissioned by Jazz St. Louis.

One moment can change everything. When Charles discovers that his cousin has returned to his Louisiana hometown, he races home from college to confront his past. Memories and shadows surround Charles as he strives to move beyond a cycle of violence and forge a brave new path. Terence Blanchard, composer of OTSL’s sold-out hit Champion, teams up with screenwriter Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) for a haunting, powerful, and tender coming-of-age story inspired by a memoir celebrated as “stunning” (Essence), “riveting” (Chicago Tribune), and “exquisite” (The New York Times).

Run time is 2 hours and 25 minutes with one intermission
All run times are approximate and subject to change.

 

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MISSION

Jazz St. Louis is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to lead our community in advancing the uniquely American art of jazz through live performance, education and community engagement.

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