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Trini Jazz PlayerTrini jazz player returns for concert

Etienne Charles is playing the jazz heard “round the world.” Covering at least three continents, Etienne’s jazz is truly bringing down the house. Etienne grew up in T&T, where language is spoken in a singsong English and the French-Creole dialect of patois. With a blend of colour and cultures, the locals communicate dynamically through music and dance. At elaborate carnivals, calypso, steelpan, chutney, East Indian classical music and limbo dances intermix. Twenty-three-year-old Charles comes from a rich legacy of musical tradition. His grandfather was seldom seen without his cuatro or guitar. His father Francis was a member of Phase II Pan Groove, one of the world’s top steelbands and one that Charles would later join himself. Music surrounded Charles as a child, emanating from his father’s record collection, and the sounds of calypso, steelpan, and African shango and tassa drumming. These formative years inform Charles’s playing and are evident in his sound today.

He has played his special trumpet blend of jazz at major venues around the world—from Jazz at Lincoln Centre to Long Beach, California, from Thailand to the Netherlands’ North Sea. He has performed with legendary artistes—from rhythm and blues queen Roberta Flack to jazz vocalist Rene Marie, from steelpan great Len “Boogsie” Sharpe to calypso legend Lord Blakie. Along the way, Charles has garnered numerous awards. In 2005, the International Association for Jazz Education honoured him with a Special Citation for Outstanding Musicianship and an Award for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education.

In 2006, he graduated from the Florida State University College of Music, where he studied jazz with legendary pianist Marcus Roberts. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Jazz Studies at the Julliard School. There is no use in trying to pigeonhole 2006 National Trumpet Competition winner Etienne Charles. From the calypso and Caribbean steelpan grooves of his native Trinidad, to sophisticated swing firmly rooted in the jazz tradition, Charles deftly incorporates a multitude of styles while maintaining continuity, freshness, and maturity in his sound that is often lacking in other players of his generation..

SOURCE - The Trinidad Guardian