Many people hear the word "Creole" and immediately think of New Orleans. So it's easy to look at bandleader/trumpeter Etienne Charles’ new album, Creole Soul, and assume it's full of traditional jazz or New Orleans-style trumpet. This is not the case, as Charles’ background (and playing) is actually the true epitome of Creole. With a family lineage consisting of French Caribbean, Spanish, and African roots, Trinidadian born Charles blends all of these influences, along with his music studies, into an album that captures a little piece of everyone, including fans of pop music.
Creole Soul features a power-house band that executes ballads, deep grooves, and jazz arrangements of popular songs in a way that utilizes many different influences, which is very, very Creole. From Monk’s “Green Chimneys,” to Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low” (which is dominating WRTI's Jazz Hot 11), along with six originals from Charles, the selections on this album renew faith in the possibility of bringing new listeners into the jazz world.
You don’t need to be a jazz aficionado to relate to this music, even if your favorites are the tunes that are familiar to you. In each and every piece, you hear Etienne Charles pay homage to his ancestry, his musical predecessors and mentors, and his family. Luckily for us, it all sounds really good.