‘Jazz is Creole music’ says Etienne Charles, a young trumpet player born in Trinidad and who later emigrated to the US where he studied music. He is an exponent of a kind of original jazz where Afro-Caribbean influences are all represented: from Calypso to Haitian Voodoo, from rock music to Motown style. He’s already performed with famous musicians like Roberta Flack, Wynton Marsalis, the Count Basie Orchestra amongst others, and has also recorded three impressive albums.

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.

Charles was taught by one of his mentors, primo jazz pianist and Florida State professor Marcus Roberts, that “going backwards is the only way to go forward.” So, while the 10-song Creole Soul is steeped in the jazz tradition, the spirit of the Caribbean also drives it. The young trumpeter, in addition to composing six originals, delivers his unique spin on Creole-oriented tunes from past masters, ranging from Bob Marley to Thelonious Monk. The album—at turns, rootsy, spicy and grooving—features at its core Charles’ crisp trumpet intonation and his lucid melodic lines. Joining the leader for the Creole music adventure is Charles’ band, comprised of tenor saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart, alto saxophonist Brian Hogans, Kris Bowers on piano and Fender Rhodes, bassist Ben Williams and drummer Obed Calvaire. Guests include vocalist Erol Josué, guitarist Alex Wintz and percussionist/vocalists Daniel Sadownick and D’Achee.

Etienne Charles Mélange virtuose de styles

Le Jazz est une musique créole, clame Etienne Charles, un jeune trompettiste né à Trinidad et qui a ensuite émigré aux Etats Unis où il a fait des études de musique. C’est l’un des représentants d’un jazz original où les influences Afro-Caraïbéennes se bousculent : depuis le calypso jusqu’au Vaudou haïtien, du rock jusqu’au style Motown. Il a déjà joué avec de très grands noms comme Roberta Flack, Wynton Marsalis, le Count Basie Orchestra et bien d’autres, et a aussi enregistré trois albums impressionnants.