Teddy Charles

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Teddy Charles in 2008 at the Iridium Jazz Club

Teddy Charles (born April 13, 1928 in Chicopee Falls , Massachusetts ; † April 16, 2012 in Riverhead , New York actually Theodore Charles Cohen ) was an American jazz musician ( vibraphone ), composer and record producer .


Charles learned piano from his mother and from 1946 studied drums at the Julliard School of Music . From 1948 to 1951 he worked in various big bands , such as Benny Goodman , Chubby Jackson , Artie Shaw and Buddy DeFranco ( Crosscurrents ) . During his subsequent composition studies , he worked with Anita O'Day , Roy Eldridge , Hall Overton , Slim Gaillard and Oscar Pettiford in small ensembles.

From 1953 he led his own quartet and, along with Teo Macero and Charles Mingus, was part of the Jazz Composers' Workshop , with which he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955 and 1956 . In 1956 he extended his formation to Tentett and took with her arrangements by Gil Evans , George Russell , Jimmy Giuffre , Bob Brookmeyer and Mal Waldron on (The Teddy Charles Tentet) . In 1957 he was involved in the Gunther Schuller's performances at Brandeis University and in 1959 in the recordings of Mingus Dynasty .

Until about 1963 he played with his own groups, which often included Jimmy Raney , Addison Farmer and Mal Waldron or Harold Danko and was occasionally involved in recordings of Pepper Adams , Aretha Franklin or Eric Kloss . He then worked primarily as a music producer, often using his own compositions.

Charles was among the first third-stream composers and was considered an innovator. Among other things, he wrote “Words from Bird (In Memoriam - Charlie Parker”). In 1965 he founded the record label Polaris . In addition to conventional instrumentation (e.g. pairings of trumpet and saxophone, as in Booker Little and Booker Ervin ), he also combined three trumpets with the rhythm section or John Coltrane with three baritone saxophones (Dakar) . He also arranged for Dion DiMucci and Miles Davis , with whom he can be heard on the record Blue Moods .

In the late 1960s, Charles turned his back on the music scene and devoted himself to sailing in the Caribbean. In the late 1980s he returned to the stage as a musician and also visited Europe. He has also performed in a trio with Perry Robinson and Ed Schuller in the last few years he lived in Riverhead, Long Island .

Discographic notes

Lexigraphic entries

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Obituary (English)
  2. This composition was written for the Stuttgart »Days of Light Music« in the spring of 1956, but was not performed there due to its complexity, but only at the Newport Jazz Festival in the same year and recorded on the LP of the same name.