Etienne Charles Quintet

Etienne Charles Quintet

Born on the Island of Trinidad in 1983, Etienne Charles defies easy musical categorization. Hailed by New York Times as "an auteur" and by Jazz Times as "A daring improviser who delivers with heart wrenching lyricism." According to Downbeat Magazine "Charles delivers his ebullient improvisations with the elegance of a world-class ballet dancer." Etienne has received critical acclaim for his exciting performances, thrilling compositions and knack for connecting with audiences worldwide. In June 2012, Etienne was awarded with a US Congressional Record for his musical contributions to the citizens of Trinidad & Tobago and the World.

Perhaps more than any other musician of his generation or Eastern Caribbean origin, Etienne brings a careful study of myriad rhythms from the French, Spanish, English and Dutch speaking Caribbean to the table. Crucially, as a soloist, he fully understands the New Orleans trumpet tradition (which is readily discernible in his trademark instrumental swagger) and what famed Crescent City Pianist, Jelly Roll Morton so succinctly captured in the now immortal phrase, 'The Spanish Tinge'.

With Kaiso, his latest recording as a leader, Etienne cooks up an ambrosial bouillabaisse of New World music genres, with Jazz and Calypso standing out as piquant flavours. He explores the songbooks of three calypso legends, the Lord Kitchener, the Mighty Sparrow and the Roaring Lion using many different instrumental palettes ranging from duet to chamber orchestra.

As a sideman he has performed and or recorded with Monty Alexander, Roberta Flack, Frank Foster, Ralph MacDonald, Johnny Mandel, Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Roberts, Maria Schneider, Count Basie Orchestra, Eric Reed, Lord Blakie, David Rudder and many others.

Etienne Charles serves as Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University. He holds a Master's degree from the Juilliard School and a Bachelor's degree from Florida State University.

Mission Jazz

featuring Bob Reynolds


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