Charles, Etienne / San Jose Suite
Album: San Jose Suite   Collection:World
Artist:Charles, Etienne   Added:Aug 2016
Label:Culture Shock  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2016-08-08 Pull Date: 2016-10-10 Charts: Reggae/World
Week Ending: Oct 9 Oct 2 Sep 4 Aug 14
Airplays: 2 1 1 1

Recent Airplay
1. Oct 06, 2016: Deep C Didgeridoo
Hyarima, Cahuita
4. Aug 30, 2016: Clean Copper Radio
Boruca, Revolt
2. Oct 04, 2016: Waste FM
5. Aug 10, 2016: Laptop Radio
3. Sep 27, 2016: Clean Copper Radio
Song For Minh

Album Review
Reviewed 2016-08-06
– General Description: Etienne Charles, originally from Trinidad, is today a composer, arranger, and Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University. His primary instruments are trumpet, steel drum, and cuatro (a small guitar).

“San Jose Suite” is based on Charles’s travels to the three cities known as San Jose in Costa Rica, Trinidad, and California. Inspired by his experiences and also the people he met in each place, he focuses on their mutual heritage of conquest, resistance, and community. In his view, conquest made resistance stronger and then ultimately increased a sense of community and culture.

Costa Rica has music with calypso characteristics. Trinidad has traditional folk music called “parang” which also includes calypso plus steel-pan and is largely performed around Christmas time. In San Jose, California, Charles focused on the Muwekma Ohlone tribe and their indigenous history, plus three tracks focus on racial relations at San Jose State and strikes by sports players to change things.

Overall, “San Jose Suite” is an exploration of stories, rituals, native chants, rhythms, and other cultural elements. Charles describes it thus: “It has different chords, assorted shapes to melodic lines, and a range of grooves from dense to sparse.”

– FCC Compliant: YES
– Recommended Tracks: 3, 4, 5, 10, 12
– Track Reviews:
1. (5:10) Boruca - a people of Costa Rica; jumps right into it and has a light airy feel with gentle trumpet
2. (4:49) Limon - province of Costa Rica; burst of cymbal, then fluid trumpet, long bass focus, splashy percussion, interesting glissandos
3. ***(6:40) Cahuita - small city in Costa Rica; bright and up-tempo, has 50’s feel of casinos and the islands, muted trumpets and sax, guitar solo; raucous then sharp finish
4. **(6:13) Hyarima - 14 October 1637 - a leader and great warrior of Trinidad; very quiet 14 sec intro of only nature sounds, then watery, sliding mysterious sounding instruments; grows very loud and then settles into more traditional jazz piece
5. ***(4:01) Revolt - vibrating chords over great conga drum, much tension, cacophony
6. (3:41) Juego De Los Diablitos - “Game of the Little Devils”; pedal point all through, mystery again
7. (6:01) Muwekma - Muwekma Ohlone tribe; spiritual sound, cymbals washing the air with harmonics; gets loud
8. (1:32) Song For Minh - sweet graceful little piece
9. (5:44) Gold Rush 2.0 - medium-fast; interesting flutter sounds from all instruments
10. ***(3:30) Speed City Intro - excellent monologue about San Jose State racial relations and strikes by sports players; upbeat music on top interferes with hearing the speaker
11. (5:07) Speed City - more monologue at start with 70’s sounding instrumentation taking over with a funky march tempo
12. **(1:37) Speed City (Reprise) - condensed, inspiring version of same monologue with music on top

Track Listing
1. Boruca   7. Muwekma
2. Limon   8. Song For Minh
3. Cahuita   9. Gold Rush 2.0
4. Hyarima   10. Speed City Intro
5. Revolt   11. Speed City
6. Juego De Los Diablitos   12. Speed City (Reprise)