Chicago Jazz Ensemble with Etienne Charles | Harris Theater | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Etienne Charles

Etienne Charles

Chicago Jazz Ensemble with Etienne Charles 

When: Fri., Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m. 2011
Price: $18-$48
On his third and latest album, the recent Kaiso (Culture Shock), Trinidadian trumpeter Etienne Charles plays almost exclusively classic calypsos by the likes of Mighty Sparrow, Roaring Lion, and Lord Kitchener, expertly adapting them for a small-combo jazz setting and maintaining the rigorous postbop model that's earned him acclaim in the U.S. His excellent band (which includes bassist Ben Williams, pianist Sullivan Fortner, and drummer Obed Calvaire) helps him make the recording work as high-level modern jazz, a la Wynton Marsalis at his best; even the ebullient carnaval melodies elegantly illustrate the way midcentury calypso borrowed language from jazz. "Kitch's Bebop of Calypso"—sung here by guest guitarist and contemporary calypso mainstay Lord Superior, who was just in town for the World Music Festival—celebrates greats like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, neatly quoting bits of their classic melodies. For tonight's concert Charles has written new big-band arrangements of his music for a first-time performance with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble; also on the program are pieces by CJE founder William Russo. —Peter Margasak



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