Creole-inspired album makes debut
A musical medley of Caribbean and creole, “Creole Soul,” the fourth album by Etienne Charles, assistant professor of trumpet for the Michigan State University College of Music, made its debut July 23.
It’s already been featured in New York Times’ “Press Play” section, where it earned rave reviews.
“‘Creole Soul’ connects many musical elements: folk, jazz, calypso, reggae, Haitian Vodou music and many others,” said Charles, who’s a member of MSU Professors of Jazz. “For me it’s special because it brings all of my worlds together. The record was inspired by the search for the sounds of my ancestors: creole from the French and Spanish and English Caribbean.”
The album also highlights inspirations from blues to bebop while drawing on an array of rhythms including Rocksteady, Reggae, Bel Air, Kongo and Calypso, he said.
Performing alongside Charles on “Creole Soul” are Jacques Schwartz-Bart (tenor saxophone); Brian Hogans (alto saxophone); Alex Wintz (guitar); Obed Calvaire (drums); D’Achee and Daniel Sadownick (percussion); and Thelonious Monk Competition winners Kris Bowers (piano and Fender Rhodes) and MSU alumnus Ben Williams (bass).
Charles was born in Trinidad and grew up listening to his father’s extensive collection of music. Now, those sounds, which include steel pan and African Shango drumming, make a subtle appearance in his compositions, he said.
Currently touring around the world, Charles will perform on his home turf Sept. 12 at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.