Etienne Charles: Afro-Caribbean Jazz in Service to a Big Idea

Email a Friend
Etienne Charles' new record is called 'San Jose Suite.'

Trumpeter Etienne Charles leads a big band and writes about big ideas. He’s made a name for himself by combining Afro-Caribbean musical traditions with American jazz. His new "San Jose Suite" is an ambitious 10-part work inspired by San Jose, California; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Etienne’s hometown of St. Joseph on the island of Trinidad—which was also called San Jose during the years of Spanish colonization. The "San Jose Suite" deals with conquest, resistance, and community, and came out of Etienne’s own work with indigenous musicians in each of the three places. Click the player above to hear Etienne and his ensemble play excerpts from the piece, and talk about the meaning of roots.