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

AUG. 16-17
Funky Butt Brass Band
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It’s impossible not to have a good time when you’re in the presence of the Funky Butt Brass Band. This musical juggernaut brings funk, soul, rhythm & blues, rock, pop, jazz, and anything else they might find under the kitchen sink together to give audiences a truly memorable experience each time they step on stage. Inspired by the brass band tradition of New Orleans, Funky Butt puts their own St. Louis stamp on everything they do…and we wouldn’t have them do it any other way!

“How did St. Louis exist so long without a true, bonafide New Orleans-style brass band? Since Funky Butt Brass Band came on the scene, it’s been impossible to miss the six-headed beast. At parades, at barbecues, at community radio festivals and especially at a certain oyster bar on Broadway, Funky Butt is a steady-gigging presence that references its Crescent City inspiration, but infuses plenty of 314-specific funkiness as well. Credit the oft-theatrical vocalizations of members Tim Halpin, Adam Hucke and Aaron Chandler for the band’s never-the-same-set-twice bravado, but recognize that “brass” is in the band name for a reason: These cats can blow.”

– The Riverfront Times

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SEP. 15
Brunch & Brass
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The Young Friends of Jazz St. Louis host the third Brunch & Brass, this year featuring the Funky Butt Brass Band with performances from JazzU students. FBBB has been voted Best Funk/Soul Band at the Riverfront Times Music Awards for four of the past five years, and their Jazz St. Louis shows have become legendary. They put their own twist on the New Orleans brass band tradition and will certainly get you out of your seat!

Adult tickets: $35. Includes admittance, brunch buffet and two drink tickets. Children 2-12 are $10; children under 2 are free. Bring your whole family!

Sponsored by: STINSON

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SEP. 18-19
Cyrille Aimee
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Improvisation is not just a technique for Cyrille Aimée, it’s a way of life. The acclaimed vocalist ventured from singing on street corners in Europe to dazzling audiences at the world’s most prestigious
jazz festivals; from sneaking out to sing in gypsy encampments in her native France to acting on Broadway; from braving the notoriously tough audiences at New York’s Apollo Theatre to being called a “rising star” York Times.

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SEP. 25-29
Joshua Redman

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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