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Jazz Articles » Album Review » Etienne Charles: Creole Orchestra Featuring René Marie


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Trinidad-born Etienne Charles has been fortunate in his associates during his development as a jazz musician. One of the first friends he made on arrival in the U.S.A. in the early 2000s to study at Florida State University was faculty member

Marcus Roberts
Marcus Roberts


” data-original-title title>Marcus Roberts. Among much else, the pianist taught Charles the importance of keeping in touch with his roots. “He always said make sure you put where you’re from in your music,” says Charles in the press materials accompanying his first big-band album, Creole Orchestra. “Marcus would say that going backwards is the only way to go forwards.” Charles took the advice and it shines through Creole Orchestra, as it has shone through his previous output.

A later addition to Charles’ circle is

Rene Marie

” data-original-title title>Rene Marie, who guests on four tracks on the new album. Charles first worked with the singer when she asked him to contribute some arrangements for her album I Wanna Be Evil: With Love To Eartha Kitt (Motema, 2013), including for the declaratory opener, Betty Garrett and Gerald Dolin’s “I’d Rather Be Burned As A Witch.” Following the album’s release, Marie asked Charles to write big band charts to take on the road. It was a “baptism by fire,” says Charles, who thought “Okay, now I’m a big band writer.”

Marie’s tracks are among the many pleasures of Creole Orchestra. She is featured on Lester Judson and Raymond Taylor’s “I Wanna Be Evil,”

Harry "Sweets" Edison
Harry “Sweets” Edison

1915 – 1999

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