ETIENNE CHARLES, CREOLE SOUL

Creole Soul (Culture Shock Music) flaunts a polished groove, heavy on the beats and the bass that dares you to try to sit still. Trinidad-born trumpeter Etienne Charles is the man behind the sound, a uniquely fired up combination of calypso and modern jazz that reflects his musical upbringing.

For this fourth solo effort on his own label, Charles assembles a dynamic core of peers and smoothly exploits the natural soul on choice covers (reggae singer Dawn Penn’s “You Don’t Love Me” and the Mingus-inspired original “Roots,” a gutsy floor shaker.) Pianist/keyboardist Kris Bowers, bassist Ben Williams and drummer Obed Calvaire ground the extraordinary rhythm team to which Charles adds tenor saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart and alto player Brian Hogan, along with the hyper-hot guitar of Alex Wintz and a crew of vocalists. From the start Charles’ fusion of spirited Afro-Caribbean rhythms reaches critical mass on the splashy “Creole,” which hitches an infectious groove to a swaggering horn arrangement, while tunes by Monk (“Green Chimneys”) and Bob Marley (“Turn Your Lights Down Low”) are freshened with skillful tempo shifts and a touch of New Orleans funk.

Charles is a lyrical trumpeter, with a keen style and sweet, rounded tone. At 30 years old, he mixes the potent with the poetic on Creole Soul with a confidence more like Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove, two musicians that exert an influence on Charles’ style. Listening to his seven originals, especially the stout, straight-ahead “Midnight” and buoyant “Doin’ The Thing,” you know you’re hearing a major new voice on the scene who has made one of the best records of the year. (10 tracks; 54 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: ETIENNE CHARLES, CREOLE SOUL

Monday, August 5, 2013

ETIENNE CHARLES, CREOLE SOUL

Creole Soul (Culture Shock Music) flaunts a polished groove, heavy on the beats and the bass that dares you to try to sit still. Trinidad-born trumpeter Etienne Charles is the man behind the sound, a uniquely fired up combination of calypso and modern jazz that reflects his musical upbringing.

For this fourth solo effort on his own label, Charles assembles a dynamic core of peers and smoothly exploits the natural soul on choice covers (reggae singer Dawn Penn’s “You Don’t Love Me” and the Mingus-inspired original “Roots,” a gutsy floor shaker.) Pianist/keyboardist Kris Bowers, bassist Ben Williams and drummer Obed Calvaire ground the extraordinary rhythm team to which Charles adds tenor saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart and alto player Brian Hogan, along with the hyper-hot guitar of Alex Wintz and a crew of vocalists. From the start Charles’ fusion of spirited Afro-Caribbean rhythms reaches critical mass on the splashy “Creole,” which hitches an infectious groove to a swaggering horn arrangement, while tunes by Monk (“Green Chimneys”) and Bob Marley (“Turn Your Lights Down Low”) are freshened with skillful tempo shifts and a touch of New Orleans funk.

Charles is a lyrical trumpeter, with a keen style and sweet, rounded tone. At 30 years old, he mixes the potent with the poetic on Creole Soul with a confidence more like Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove, two musicians that exert an influence on Charles’ style. Listening to his seven originals, especially the stout, straight-ahead “Midnight” and buoyant “Doin’ The Thing,” you know you’re hearing a major new voice on the scene who has made one of the best records of the year. (10 tracks; 54 minutes)

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