Shared from the 3/9/2017 American Press eEdition

Banners season begins with the sound of jazz


Special to the American Press

jazz virtuoso Etienne Charles will kick off the 2017 McNeese Banners season at 7 p.m. March 14 at the Central School Arts and Humanities Center.

The 2017 spring season of Banners at McNeese State University kicks off with a dynamic performance by jazz virtuoso Etienne Charles at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, in the Lake Charles Central School Theatre.

Called by the New York Times as“one of (jazz’s) more ambitious soloists and composers” and as “a daring improviser” by the Jazz Times, this young artist has already made a name for himself as a fresh and innovative voice in modern jazz.

Drawing upon his diverse roots — French Caribbean, Spanish, African and Venezuelan — Charles’ music represents a fusion of cultures, incorporating traditional island influences such as calypso and Haitian voodoo music with classic American fare, among them R&B, reggae and Motown.

This cultural and rhythmic fusion between jazz tradition and Caribbean spirit comes together in Charles’ newest album, “Creole Soul.” Alongside six originally composed songs, Charles also covers jazz legends of the past, including Bob Marley and Thelonious Monk.

From his birthplace in Trinidad, Charles’ musical journey took him first to Florida, where he earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, and then to New York, where he graduated with a master’s degree from Juilliard School. Currently a jazz trumpet teacher at Michigan State University, Charles already has three notable albums under his belt. He has performed with such artists as Roberta Flack, Johnny Mandel and the Count Basie Orchestra and has collaborated with jazz icons Frank Foster and Benny Golson, among many others.

l Tickets for the Etienne Charles performance will be available at the door at $20 for adults, $5 for students under 18, and free for McNeese and Sowela students with current IDs.

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