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Etienne Charles

Born on the Island of Trinidad in 1983, Etienne Charles defies easy musical categorization. He has been hailed by the New York Times as “an auteur” and by Jazz Times as “A daring improviser who delivers with heart wrenching lyricism.” According to Downbeat Magazine “Charles delivers his ebullient improvisations with the elegance of a world-class ballet dancer.” Etienne has received critical acclaim for his exciting performances, thrilling compositions and knack for connecting with audiences worldwide. In 2015, He received the distinct honor of being named a John Simon 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 2013 he was awarded the Caribbean Heritage Trailblazer Award, by the Institute of Caribbean Studies, Washington, DC. In 2006 he won 1st place in 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’.

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