“Etienne Charles and the Conquest of the Americas” at Queen’s Hall
Writer: Nigel Campbell
Date Published: November 13th 2016
Whenever T&T jazz trumpeter and composer Etienne Charles releases an album, it is an event. In this case, it is the ten-part The San Jose Suite—soon to be performed live in T&T. The album was released in June this year but has not yet been performed locally. It will debut on November 20 at Queen’s Hall, from 7 pm.
This suite dares to magnify the idea of the wider Americas as a crucible for the continuing assimilation and transformation of disparate musical influences. It is a space where the Naipaulian idea of “small places with simple economies bred small people with simple destinies” is turned on its head forever.
Charles uses the coincidence of the name of San José to make a subliminal link between the Caribbean, Latin American and North American cultural tendencies. The real commonality is the idea of the African diaspora intersection with the Native American antecedents to act as the base for a new direction in jazz.