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Erdmann has an article published in International Trumpet Guild Journal

Professor of Music Thomas Erdmann had an article published about Etienne Charles in the professional trumpet journal.  

Professor of Music Thomas Erdmann had a 6,000-word article published in the January 2018 issue of The International Trumpet Guild Journal.

Thomas Erdmann, professor of music

The article, "Mentor in Chief," is on trumpeter, percussionist, arranger, composer and college professor Etienne Charles. Some of his accomplishments include, but are not limited to, being written into the U.S. Congressional Record for his contributions to Trinidad and Tobago and the world, earning the Jazz at Lincoln Center Millennial Swing Award, and performing and serving as a panelist at the 2016 White House Briefing on Caribbean American Heritage.

He was selected as a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, received the Caribbean American Heritage Trailblazer Award, served as musical director in 2012 for Panjazz, routinely has his albums reach the top of music charts like JazzWeek and Billboard, and currently teaches as an associate professor of jazz studies at Michigan State University.

Born in Trinidad in the southernmost port of the Caribbean, Charles got his start playing in his dad’s world-famous steel drum band, Phase II Pan Groove. Educationally, after winning awards at Fatima College in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, he went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, where he was named the Brautlecht Scholar of the College of Music.

Moving to New York Charles gained a master’s degree from Julliard along with winning the William Schuman Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. Additional studies at the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles helped prepare Charles for work appearing with artists like Monty Alexander, the Count Basie Orchestra, Roberta Flack, Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Big Band, Benny Golson, Ralph McDonald, Johnny Mandel, Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Roberts, Maria Schneider, Lennox “Boogsie” Sharpe, Eric Reed, and Gerald Wilson. He also won the National Trumpet Competition, Jazz Division, in 2006, the same year as his first CD release as a leader.

The critics are enamored with Charles. The New York Times called him an “irrepressible trumpeter and percussionist,” and Jazziz named him a “first-rate soloist.” Downbeat, however, perhaps said it best: “(Charles) hones a velvet, supple tone that’s as melodically captivating as it is rhythmically agile. When it comes to uptempo songs… he delivers his ebullient improvisations with the elegance of a world-class ballet dancer.” It’s hard to find a category of music where he doesn’t excel. On his own recordings Charles has found a way to create a new style of music combining Calypso with, as Ben Ratliff in The New York Times wrote, “(music that is) powered by a clean and swinging rhythm, harmonically coming out of the mid-1960s.” The Wall Street Journal named it, “New Calypso Bebop.” Whatever you call it, Charles is most certainly one of jazz’s most vibrant new stars.


Thomas Erdmann,
12/29/2017 7:50 PM