Etienne Charles

Etienne Charles is a Recording Artist, Composer, Arranger, and an Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University. Hailed by The New York Times as “an auteur” he is known as one of the most compelling and exciting young jazz artists of our time, he is known for ushering the genre into groundbreaking new territory by buoyantly tapping into a myriad of styles rooted in his Afro-Caribbean background, exploring the musical depths of the islands, from calypso to Haitian vodou music. Also in the jazz amalgam mix are rock steady, reggae, belair, 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… 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.”

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 NEA Jazz Masters Frank Foster and Benny Golson.

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