Caribbean tradition with Modern Jazz

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Thursday February 21, 2019

From The New Orleans Advocate

Etienne Charles’ blend of Caribbean tradition with modern jazz coming to Manship Theatre
By: John Wirt

Carnival in the Caribbean, a riotous spectacle of drums, rhythm, dance, color and phantasmagorical characters, inspires jazz trumpeter and composer Etienne Charles. ‘I have always thought of Carnival as an all-encompassing art form that has elements of music, dance, theater, costume design, improvisation, satire, comedy,’ Charles said ahead of his performance at the Manship Theatre, Wednesday, Feb. 27.

[…] Following the biscuit tins intro on his composition “Jab Molassie,” Charles’ and his band enter with ethereal piano notes and an otherworldly theme stated by trumpet and alto saxophone. He shapes cool American jazz around the Trinidadian percussion.

Taking their cue from the Trinidadian drummers, Charles and three more percussion players approximate the island’s drumming throughout ‘Carnival: The Sound of a People, Vol. 1.’ Charles alone plays congas, djembe, keg drum, duddup, bongos, shakers, cowbell, iron and caj√≥n.

For ‘Dame Lorraine,’ another of the album’s Carnival character-based pieces, trumpet and two saxophones play a boisterous tune that would fit naturally in a New Orleans brass band performance. In his trumpet solo on the song, Charles also shows skill and imagination of the kind pioneered by the traditional jazz trumpeters he emulated, many of whom came from New Orleans.

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