Press Clipping
02/08/2019
Article
Etienne Charles Carnival: The Sound of a People

Saturday, March 2 at 7:30pm

The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica presents Etienne Charles’ Carnival: The Sound of the People on Saturday, March 2 at 7:30pm. Hailed by The New York Times as an “An auteur…[with] strength and a clear, almost classical sense of thematic organization,” Tobagonian trumpeter Etienne Charles returns to his roots to celebrate Trinidadian culture.

During Carnival, the island of Trinidad becomes engulfed in a cacophony of sounds – from singing minstrels, to the clash of stick fights, and lively calypso music with its hallmark steel pan cadences. As a Trinidadian raised in a musical family, trumpeter Etienne Charles feels a deep connection to the Carnival traditions. At a young age he joined his father’s steel band, performing at Carnival fetes, and immersing himself in the folklore. Through Etienne’s Guggenheim Fellowship Award, he returns to his roots to celebrate the traditions that best exemplify Trinidadian culture. Inspired by the noises heard throughout the festivities, Etienne’s Carnival: The Sound of a People brings the celebrations to the stage.

NPR’s All Things Considered calls Etienne, “a great young trumpeter…his records filter calypso, reggae and other Afro-Caribbean music into a modern jazz conception.” Critics and audiences alike continue to praise the Trinidadian’s exciting performances, thrilling compositions, and his charismatic onstage presence. Etienne is a Guggenheim Fellow in the Creative Arts, Associate Professor of Jazz Trumpet and Teacher Scholar at Michigan State University, and has been written in to US Congressional Record for his musical contributions to Trinidad & Tobago and the World.

Jazz & Blues at The Broad Stage made possible by a generous gift from Richard and Lisa Kendall.

About Etienne Charles
Born on the Island of Trinidad in 1983, Etienne Charles defies easy musical categorization. A recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and recent Chamber Music America Grant for New Works, Etienne has received critical acclaim for his exciting performances, thrilling compositions and knack for connecting with audiences worldwide. More recently, he received the distinct honor of being selected as a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in the Creative Arts. In 2012 Etienne was written into the US Congressional Record for his musical contributions to Trinidad & Tobago and the world. In 2006 he won the National Trumpet Competition Jazz Division in Fairfax, VA.

Perhaps more than any other musician of his generation or Eastern Caribbean origin, Etienne brings a careful study of myriad rhythms from the French, Spanish, English and Dutch speaking Caribbean to his work. Crucially, as a soloist, he fully understands the New Orleans trumpet tradition (which is readily discernible in his trademark instrumental swagger) and what famed Crescent City Pianist, Jelly Roll Morton so succinctly captured in the now immortal phrase, ‘The Spanish Tinge’.

His acclaimed recording, Creole Soul (Culture Shock Music 2013), features original compositions and arrangements of music by Bob Marley, Winsford Devine, Thelonious Monk and Bo Didley. The album spent three consecutive weeks at #1 on the Jazz Week Chart as well as reaching #25 on the Billboard Jazz Charts. Creole Soul was named as the #3 Jazz Album of 2013 by Jazz Week. Previously he released Kaiso (2011), Folklore (2009) and Culture Shock (2006).

2015 saw the release of Etienne’s album Creole Christmas, a cross-collaboration highlighting traditional Caribbean holiday folk music, featuring musicians from the United States, Venezuela Macedonia, and Trinidad & Tobago. Also that year, Etienne premiered a new work, “San Jose Suite” made possible with support from Chamber Music America’s 2014 New Jazz Works grant funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Etienne released a recording of San Jose Suite in 2016.

Etienne Charles is a highly regarded educator and currently serves as Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University. He holds a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School and a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University.