Home / News / Etienne Charles’ San Jose Suite set for release June 10‏

Etienne Charles’ San Jose Suite set for release June 10‏

Trinidad-born trumpeter Etienne Charles’ sixth full-length release, San Jose Suite, is set for release June 10 via Culture Shock Music. Composed by Charles and commissioned through a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the ambitious ten-part suite explores the histories, cultures and musical traditions of three Western settlements that share a name: San Jose, Costa Rica; San Jose, California; and Charles’ native St. Joseph, Trinidad (known as San Jose during the era of Spanish colonization). In the process, it illuminates shared pasts of colonial conquest in the Americas and the resilience of communities that have developed as a result.

Having begun his research in December of 2014, Charles traveled to each locale in 2015 and spent time with townspeople, local historians and storytellers, observing and participating in rituals and jamming with local musicians in the indigenous and African Diaspora communities. Both populations’ relationship to—and influence on—music proved to be of particular interest. “In each city, there was the presence of conquest, resistance and community,” Charles observes. “And yet, each population’s relationship with conquest made the presence of resistance stronger and created an increased sense of community and culture. Music is a major part of that.”

Performing alongside Charles on San Jose Suite are Brian Hogans (alto saxophone), Alex Wintz (guitar), Victor Gould (piano, Fender Rhodes, organ), Ben Williams (bass) and John Davis (drums). The record also features spoken word contributions by Dr. Harry Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, who was instrumental in the 1960s resistance at San Jose State University (both as a student and then as a professor) that led to the desegregation of the campus.

Charles will celebrate the release with live performances around the country, including DC Jazz Fest, San Francisco’s SFJAZZ Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York City. Please see below for a list of upcoming dates.

A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in the Creative Arts, Associate Professor of Jazz Trumpet and Teacher Scholar at Michigan State University, Charles has been called “a daring improviser” by Jazz Times while Ben Ratliff of The New York Times called him “one of the more ambitious soloists and composers.” Charles studied under piano virtuoso Marcus Roberts at Florida State University and Mark Gould, former principal trumpeter of the Metropolitan Opera, at Juilliard. He was also mentored by Jamaican reggae and jazz luminary Monty Alexander and the late, multiple Grammy Award-winning, Trinidadian-American percussionist/songwriter Ralph MacDonald.


1. Boruca

2. Limon
3. Cahuita

4. Hyarima—14 October 1637

5. Revolt

6. Juego de los Diablitos

7. Muwekma

8. Song for Minh

9. Gold Rush 2.0

10. Speed City Intro (feat. Dr. Harry Edwards)

11. Speed City (feat. Dr. Harry Edwards)
12. Speed City Reprise (feat. Dr. Harry Edwards)


March 26–April 2 /// Savannah Music Festival /// Savannah, GA
May 20 /// West Ottawa High School /// West Ottawa, MI
May 28 /// Atlanta Jazz Festival /// Atlanta, GA
May 29 /// Spoleto Festival (with René Marie) /// Charleston, SC
June 3 /// Bellevue Jazz and Blues Festival /// Bellevue, WA
June 4 /// Jazz on the Hill /// San Mateo, CA
June 12 /// DC Jazz Fest at The Hamilton Live /// Washington, DC
June 28–29 /// Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola—Jazz at Lincoln Center /// New York, NY
June 30 & July 1 /// San Jose Jazz Summer Camp /// San Jose, CA
July 7 /// Kelly Strayhorn Theater /// Pittsburgh, PA
July 23 /// Caramoor Jazz Festival /// Katonah, NY
July 24 /// Masten Jazz Festival /// Pittsburgh, PA
July 29 /// Newport Jazz Festival /// Newport, RI
November 5 /// Miniaci Performing Arts Center /// Ft. Lauderdale, FL
December 17 /// SFJAZZ Center /// San Francisco, CA


About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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