Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Electric ascendance of Etienne Charles: Creole Soul – a CD Review¹

With his simple declaration to this writer, “sound is my art...I just try to create,” Trinidadian jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles puts into context his role of creator and producer in relation to his latest recording Creole Soul, out now on Culture Shock Music and distributed in North America by RED/Sony Music Entertainment,. This new album, previewed earlier this year in Tobago at Jazz on the Beach at Mt Irvine reveals to this writer an evolution of his art that parallels our most distinguished author and the jazz idiom’s most eclectic trumpeter and influence.

The fourth studio album from this US-based musician and teacher bristles with a kind of energy that comes from the realization that one has gone beyond; beyond the usual expectations of a Caribbean existence, beyond the boundary of the usual sonic influences that have paved the way for this jazz lion. The familiar tropes of calypso rhythm inflected jazz that have been a hallmark of our jazz here for decades—from Duke Ellington's A Drum is a Woman (1956) to Rupert Clemendore's Le Jazz Trinidad (1961) and Dizzy Gillespie's Jambo Caribe (1964)—are abandoned for a modern post-bop and jazz fusion take on the material and all its thematic and stylistic influences in the New World.