Saturday, July 27, 2024


*SHOW ONLY | 21+ | NO DINNER SERVICE* “No jazz musician of the past 60 years has more palpably channeled the sound of Charlie Parker than alto saxophonist Charles McPherson.” – Jazziz Alto saxophonist and bebop legend Charles McPherson celebrates his 85th birthday, with his quintet featuring trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, pianist Randy Porter, bassist Rob Thorsen, and drummer Tyler Kruetel. One of the most acclaimed and beloved voices in jazz, McPherson’s rich musical style is rooted in the blues and bebop and has influenced and inspired generations of musicians and listeners for over six decades. He has performed at concerts and festivals around the world with jazz greats like Barry Harris, Billy Eckstine, Nat Adderley, Jay McShann, Phil Woods, Wynton Marsalis, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, and others. In a recent review, Downbeat states, “As a still-vibrant jazz veteran with ties to innovators like Charles Mingus and Lionel Hampton, McPherson’s writing carries on the traditional weight of bebop and swing, buoyed with an inventive, contemporary spark.” Charles McPherson was born in Joplin, Missouri and moved to Detroit at age nine. After growing up in Detroit, he studied with the renowned pianist Barry Harris and started playing jazz professionally at age 19. He moved from Detroit to New York in 1959 and performed with Charles Mingus from 1960 to 1972. While performing with Mingus, he collaborated frequently with Harris, Lonnie Hillyer, and George Coleman. Mr. McPherson has performed at concerts and festivals with his own variety of groups, consisting of quartets, quintets to full orchestras. Charles was featured at Lincoln Center showcasing his original compositions 15 years ago, and once again joined Wynton Marsalis and J@LC Orchestra in April, 2019 honoring his 80th Birthday where they arranged and performed 7 of Charles’ iconic original compositions. Charles has toured the U.S., Europe, Japan, Africa and South America with his own group, as well as with jazz greats Barry Harris, Billy Eckstine, Lionel Hampton, Nat Adderly, Jay McShann, Phil Woods, Wynton Marsalis, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, and others. McPherson has recorded as a guest artist with Charlie Mingus, Barry Harris, Art Farmer, Kenny Drew, Toshiko Akiyoshi, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. He has recorded as a leader on Prestige, Fantasy, Mainstream, Discovery, Xanadu, Arabesque, Capri, Smoke Sessions and several smaller labels in Europe and Japan. Charles was the featured alto saxophonist in the Clint Eastwood film “Bird,” a biopic about Charlie Parker. Charles has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Don Redman Lifetime Achievement Award and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from California State University San Marcos. Widely recognized as a prolific composer, Charles is now Resident Composer for the San Ballet where he has written three original suites plus two arrangements for chamber music and jazz combos. His most recent albums, Jazz Dance Suites and Reverence, have both been highly acclaimed. Jazz Dance Suites is a compilation of two of multiple movement suites, “Sweet Synergy Suite” and “Song of Songs”, plus a movement from a string chamber work, “Reflection, Turmoil & Hope.” Many critics, including DownBeat Magazine, recognized JAZZ DANCE SUITES as one of the best Jazz Recordings of the year. It’s also won the honor of TWO Reader’s Polls – both DownBeat and JAZZTIMES as #1 & #4 Jazz Album of the year, plus Charles was named Artist of the Yeai. Read all the reviews here. Charles was most touched by his peer’s comments. Bobby Watson said, “A masterpiece.” John Beasley and Don Sickler both said, “I had no idea you are such a great writer.” Reverence, just released on Smoke Sessions Records, has thus far received glowing reviews. Soon Dr. Donnie Norton will compile the entire book of Charles’ compositions for publication. During the pandemic, Charles was as busy as ever online all over the world – from the esteemed Global Music Foundation, Detroit Symphony programs, many jazz festivals, and a new recording coming up from Germany where he is a soloist, several artists in residence programs from MSU to ASU. McPherson remains a strong, viable force on the jazz scene today. Throughout his six decades of being an integral performer of the music, Charles has not merely remained true to his Be Bop origins, but has expanded on them. Stanley Crouch says in his New York Times article on Charles, “he is a singular voice who has never sacrificed the fluidity of his melody making and is held in high esteem by musicians both long seasoned and young.” Wynton Marsalis, a longtime admirer says: “Charles is the very definition of excellence in our music. He’s the definitive master on this instrument. He plays with exceptional harmonic accuracy and sophistication. He performs free-flowing, melodic and thematically developed solos with unbelievable fire and an unparalleled depth of soul.” Charles is a frequent guest at universities all over the world and also teaches privately. Many of his former students have gone on to have careers of their own in jazz, and have earned National Jazz Student Awards. Charles had the honor of being the subject of then PhD candidate Dr. Donnie Norton’s Doctoral Dissertation: “The Jazz Saxophone Style of Charles McPherson: An Analysis through Biographical Examination and Solo Transcription.” For more info, visit: