Local fans of trumpeter Etienne Charles have to wait until November to hear him live in concert. Charles will play at Queen's Hall on November 20, when he will showcase selections from his latest release, San Jose Suite.
San Jose Suite is his sixth full-length release and is available from tomorrow, June 10. Composed by Charles, the ambitious ten-part suite explores the histories, cultures and musical traditions of three Western settlements that share a name: San Jose, Costa Rica; San Jose, California; and Charles' native St Joseph, Trinidad (known as San Jose during the era of Spanish colonisation).
In the process, it illuminates shared pasts of colonial conquest in the Americas and the resilience of communities that have developed as a result.
Having begun his research in December 2014, Charles travelled to each locale in 2015 and spent time with townspeople, local historians, and storytellers. He observed and participated in rituals, and jammed with local musicians in the indigenous and African diaspora communities.
Both populations' relationship to–and influence on music proved to be of particular interest. "In each city, there was the presence of conquest, resistance and community," Charles said.
"And yet, each population's relationship with conquest made the presence of resistance stronger and created an increased sense of community and culture. Music is a major part of that."
Performing alongside Charles on San Jose Suite are Brian Hogans (alto saxophone), Alex Wintz (guitar), Victor Gould (piano, Fender Rhodes, organ), Ben Williams (bass), and John Davis (drums).
The record also features spoken word contributions by Dr Harry Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights–who was instrumental in the 1960s resistance at San Jose State University (both as a student and then as a professor) that led to the desegregation of the campus.
San Jose Suite was commissioned through a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. It is being released via Culture Shock Music.
Charles' previous album, Creole Soul, reached number one on the JazzWeek Radio Chart for three consecutive weeks, was called "excellent" by The New York Times, and was hailed by Jazz Times as "personal, cerebral, spiritual and joyful in its creative exploration of the roots of music and of a man."
DownBeat raved, "Charles' trumpet playing retains its sublime elegance, especially in the way he unravels his improvisations in a soothing, almost blustery manner."
A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in the Creative Arts, the associate professor of Jazz Trumpet and teacher/scholar at Michigan State University, Charles has been called "a daring improviser" by Jazz Times while Ben Ratliff of The New York Times called him "one of the more ambitious soloists and composers."
Charles studied under piano virtuoso Marcus Roberts at Florida State University and Mark Gould, former principal trumpeter of the Metropolitan Opera, at Juilliard. He was also mentored by Jamaican reggae and jazz luminary Monty Alexander and the late, multiple Grammy Award-winning, Trinidadian-American percussionist/songwriter Ralph MacDonald.
�2 MORE INFO: San Jose Suite by Etienne Charles is available for preorder at etiennecharles.com, as well as on iTunes and Amazon. The CD is also available at popular outlets across T&T including Cleve's One Stop Music Shop, Frederick Street, and Paper Based, Hotel Normandie, St Ann's.