As the frontman of Etienne Charles and Creole Soul, Etienne Charles has been hailed by The New York Times as "an auteur" (Ben Ratliff) and by Jazz Times as a, "daring improviser who delivers with heart wrenching lyricism" (Bill Milkowski), Trinidad born Charles has received critical acclaim for his exciting performances, thrilling compositions and knack for connecting with audiences worldwide. Charles brings a careful study of myriad rhythms from the French, Spanish, English and Dutch speaking Caribbean to his compositions. Crucially, as a soloist, he fully grasps the New Orleans trumpet tradition; which is readily discernible in his trademark instrumental swagger, and what famed Crescent City Pianist, Jelly Roll Morton so succinctly captured in the now immortal phrase, 'The Spanish Tinge'.
Among his many achievements, in 2013, his album Creole Soul reached #1 for three weeks on the Jazzweek chart and was eventually named #3 Jazz Album of the year by Jazzweek. Also in 2013 he received the Caribbean Heritage Trailblazer award from the Institute of Caribbean Studies (Washington, DC). In 2015, Charles was named as a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in the Creative Arts and recently, he made his debut as producer and songwriter on the album Petite Afrique by Somi (Sony/Okeh 2017) which won Outstanding Jazz Album at the 2018 NAACP Image Awards. Etienne Charles understands his role as an Artist citizen and sees live music as a way to uplift all people and is dedicated to bringing it to those who aren’t able to attend concerts. Specifically, in his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago, he has done performances and workshops at Princess Elizabeth Center, St. Dominic’s children’s home, St. Mary’s children’s home, St. Jude’s school for girls, St. Michael’s school for boys, St. Margaret’s school for boys, Youth Training Center, and Maximum Security Prison. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Michigan State University in East Lansing.