Etienne Charles, a trumpet jazz talent early in his career, is from the Caribbean/S. American island of Trinidad. He has 4 of his own albums out and has been on releases since 2002. Etienne came from lots of music in his family, and now has gone on to international touring & performing.
A big feature of Etienne’s appearance in this SJJ Summer Fest is the young trumpeter and bandleader’s performance of the world premiere of his San Jose Suite, borne of influences from San Jose, CA; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Charles’ native St. Joseph, Trinidad.
The San Jose Suite explores stories, rituals, native chants, rhythms, and other cultural elements that shaped the three San Jose cities. This musical exploration will take place through a mix of composition and improvisation, with each movement of the 60‐75 minute piece introducing cultural and historical icons, traditions, and milestone events in the history of the cities. He will play this piece heard for the first time on the California Stage on Saturday, when KCSM is doing their live broadcast.
Etienne’s work at large is typically smooth. A lot of it is melodic and well orchestrated in a new age fashion. There is a definite Caribbean element in his groups. Try samples here of “Rose,” “You Don’t Love Me“,” and “Sugar Bum Bum.” Sometimes the work can be avant guard; try his appearance here on Eric Felten’s Beyond Category. If you listen to Etienne’s narratives on producing a work he is quite the sophisticated musician. He has been through a fair amount of our university system, and along with all the arranging, touring & performing, at his early age holds an assistant music professorship at Michigan State University.
To experience the “Etienne Charles,” get yourself to the SJ Jazz Summer Fest the afternoon of August 8. Go to the Umpqua Bank Stage Saturday for a 6 pm performance. (This venu is in the San Jose Stage Company on S. 1st St) The SJ Jazz Summer Fest is playing all weekend at multiple downtown SJ venues.