Etienne Charles Plays in La Jolla

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Tuesday April 10, 2018

From Broadway World: San Diego

BWW Review: La Jolla Athenaeum Presents Etienne Charles and Creole Jazz at TSRI Auditorium In La Jolla
By: Ron Bierman

[…] That well-earned moment of recognition was followed by an exciting mix of the jazz and Afro-Caribbean influenced music of Trinidad-born trumpeter and bandleader Etienne Charles. Things got off to a bright bouncy start with “Douen” from the San Jose Suite by Charles, who wrote five of the eight tunes on the program.

The Caribbean Islands, like the United States, have a long history of racial discrimination that has often inspired the compositions and playing of musicians from Trinidad and other islands such as Cuba and Jamaica. I suspect Charles admires the music of Jamaican Bob Marley partly for that reason. His reggae-influenced arrangement of Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low” was a sunny, rhythmic delight.

Charles loves audience participation and encouraged clapping, dancing and singing along on a few numbers. The enthusiastic audience of mostly jazz aficionados did well on the rhythmic clapping, not so well on Bob Marley words or reggae dance-moves. (My excuse is that I was usually in the band when growing up rather than on the dance floor.) The concert concluded with “Santimanite,” another up-beat tune from the San Jose Suite.

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