Etienne Charles: Creole Soul

March 4-8

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

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

APR. 8
1959: The Year that Changed Jazz
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1959: The Year that Changed Jazz

featuring author, Ashley Kahn

THIS EVENT IS A PART OF OUR WHITAKER JAZZ SPEAKS: PERFORMANCE & AUTHOR SERIES

The year 1959 was arguably the most creative year jazz had ever seen. As musicians began breaking away from BeBop and exploring new experimental forms, four albums were released that year that are now widely recognized as the most influential in history. Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, Charles Mingus’s Mingus Ah Um, and Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come, represented new directions in music that influenced the course of jazz in every aspect. Author, Ashley Kahn, returns to Jazz St. Louis to explore this influential year in jazz, followed by an all-star performance, led by bassist Bob DeBoo.

Wednesday, April 8

Jazz St. Louis
3536 Washington Ave
St. Louis, MO 63103
doors open at 6pm, program to commence at 7 pm

COST: Free

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APR. 10-11
Bryan Carter, Roxy Coss, & Riley Mulherkar
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Lauded by Wynton Marsalis as a “rising jazz artist”, trumpeter Riley Mulherkar returns for his second residency, this time with tenor saxophonist Roxy Coss who was praised by All About Jazz for her “perfect balance of lyricism and intensity…”. Holding down the rhythm section is Bryan Carter, a graduate of the Julliard School, who is an alumnus of the bands of Mulgrew Miller, Kenny Barron, and Kurt Elling.

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APR. 15-19
Harold López-Nussa

APR 21
Bach, Blues, and Bernstein

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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