Etienne Eager To Bring Jazz Band Traces To T&T

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By Michael Mondezie

Acclaimed jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles says he is eager to be on home soil to share his new musical works. Charles is set to return to T&T for a weekend of shows this month.

The University of Miami Associate Professor of Studio Music and Jazz, will stage Etienne Charles & Friends on April 15 at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, Port of Spain, and April 16 at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) in San Fernando.

Charles will debut his new jazz quartet Traces at the two-nights-only concert. Both nights will also feature vocalist Charmaine Forde, pannist Dane Gulston, pianist D Piano Girl Johanna Chuckaree and guitarist Clifford Charles alongside the horn maestro.

“I am eager to come to bring this group Traces, my new quartet.”

Charles beamed during a WhatsApp exchange with the Kitcharee on Friday afternoon.

Traces, the title of the group’s debut album, features a global cast of musicians including the highly decorated French cellist Vincent Ségal, award-winning Venezuelan cuatro player Jorge Glem and award-winning Israeli bassist/educator Or Bareket.

Charles was recently lauded by international media following a stellar debut of his new works at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan, New York, USA. Charles presented “San Juan Hill: A New York Story” at the reopening of the Center’s famed David Geffen Hall last October.

“We did an album called Traces and we are currently touring, with the last two shows on the tour being in T&T. So I’m excited about that and to let T&T jazz fans see a different side of me as a composer and different side of me as a bandleader and trumpet player,” Charles continued.

Giddy for ‘jazz season’

The post-Carnival, pre-August holiday period is fast being known as jazz season on the local music calendar. Several jazz-themed concerts featuring music talent from across the region and locally are already booked for the period.

A week ago billboard charting Bajan saxophonist Elan Trotman shared top billing at the Jazz Artists on the Greens showcase with American-born pannist Andy Narell and local maestro Len “Boogsie” Sharpe. Jazz fans are also buzzing about seeing legendary American R&B group Boyz II Men at Tobago Jazz later this month and the line-up is currently being assembled for the much anticipated North Coast Jazz next month.

Charles says he is delighted to see jazz music find a permanent space on the local music calendar and even happier to be able to make a tangible contribution to the rise of the genre this year.

“I think it’s amazing we now have this jazz season that starts at the end of March and goes through April into May. I think it gets a lot of the music out. I am glad to be a part of it this year for two concerts. I am excited about that, its always exciting to come back home and play.

Gulston, meanwhile, echoed Charles sentiments saying “its always a pleasure to share the stage with my buddy Etienne”.

“We go way past just performing as artiste or artiste colleagues. We are friends. So, it’s really a pleasure, its always nice to share the stage with a musician like Etienne,” Gulston said.

The excitable pan man said fans can expect him to be at his entertaining best and as always to come with long sleeves full of surprises.

“It will have some nice surprises. I want to make sure the people understand Dane Gulston. When you doing certain shows it’s a lil different, we call it jazz, but is more of that fusion, making sure the stage is always electrified. But also I want to make sure people understand me and what I’m trying to bring over to them. I love to entertain and make sure people enjoy an evening of entertainment,” Gulston concluded.

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