Journalist

Charlie joined the LondonJazz News editorial team as an intern in October 2021, and was promoted to Assistant Editor in September 2022. His roles with LJN include compiling the ‘Read Elsewhere’ section of the weekly newsletter, and writing features, previews, reviews and news stories for the main site.

Highlights among the over 50 articles he has published include interviews with such names as Christian McBride, Bob Mintzer and Curtis Stigers, and a five-part series on the life and career of saxophonist Steve Grossman (more info below). He is also among the most active reviewers on the London scene, producing regular coverage from the city’s iconic jazz venues and festivals. 

Charlie’s favourite articles from his time with LJN are highlighted below / a more complete archive of his writings can be viewed here.

"The interviews, reviews and special pieces Charlie has published shine a light on the jazz scene and its prominent people in today’s world of jazz music.”
Richie identity in circle
Richie Beirach
Hessheim, Germany

Some of Charlie's journalistic highlights

Chuck Sher: Publisher of ‘The Practice Notebooks of Michael Brecker’

“I’ve often felt that Sher Music Co. has been called on by the Universe to help make jazz music grow and thrive because serendipitous things keep happening. For example, in this case, I was reading some random jazz article and it stated that Michael Brecker’s practice notebooks were in an archive at William Paterson University. A light bulb went off and the rest is history, as they say. I then wrote to Susan Brecker (Michael Brecker’s widow) for permission to publish Mike’s notebooks and, after some back and forth, that permission was granted. Evidently, a couple of other publishers were interested but when they were told it was 800 pages of material they never went any further. It’s a labor of love for me, so I jumped right in!”

Richie Beirach interview: Solo Piano Album ‘Leaving’ Releasing 14 April

“Solo piano is great because it’s just you. You get all the attention and all the glory. But you also have to provide the goods. In other words, if it’s ‘not happening’, you’re fucked! So I take the responsibility of it very seriously. Most people who go to concerts are not musicians. If they hear you playing all your own originals, which could be great, they don’t know if it’s good or not; they have no frame of reference. But standards are a frame of reference. If you play “Green Dolphin Street” in a creative way, they will probably know the tune and will hear your creativity. For comparison: In the classical world, there’s Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, the Chopin etudes, the Beethoven sonatas, Bach’s preludes and fugues and the Goldberg Variations. When young people make their classical debuts, you can be sure there will be some of that stuff in there so people can hear their creativity with a reference. That’s why when I teach or run auditions, I demand at least one standard, so I can hear how they play in relation to the legacy. These tunes are tried and true vehicles and they’re all great tunes, which means a fantastic melody, a great set of changes and a vibe. Each has a history; they’re like people. My hope is that I add my creativity to that legacy.”

REVIEW: Michael Brecker Band & Randy Brecker Band – ‘Live at Fabrik - Hamburg 1987’

A very cursory look at the cover and title of this CD might lead one to the conclusion that it is of the actual Brecker Brothers band, or perhaps another band co-lead by Randy and Michael. Wrong. It actually features the two brothers’ own, separate touring bands of the late ’80s, performing separate sets in Fabrik, Hamburg, on the same evening, 18th October 1987, both sets recorded by broadcaster NDR. CD 1 features Michael Brecker‘s band; CD 2 features Randy Brecker‘s band (both recordings are available as separate albums for streaming).

10 Tracks by Steve Grossman I Can’t Do Without…by Charles Rees
  1. “Slumber” from Chick Corea‘s The Sun (1971)

The lineup on this record – Chick CoreaDave Holland and Jack DeJohnette (plus Grossman) – is borrowed from the Miles Davis group of the late ’60s/early ’70s (Corea having hired his fellow bandmates for this, his fourth album project). Interestingly, the album ends up sounding more akin to the John Coltrane quartet of the mid-60’s than any Miles project; chief among the reasons is Steve Grossman, whose tone, language and presence here absolutely radiate Trane. My pick from the album is a Dave Liebman tune called “Slumber”. Grossman’s solo is best described as burning and is especially unbelievable when you consider that he was just 19 at the time of this recording!

10 Tracks by Marty Paich I Can’t Do Without…by Charles Rees

1.“Tenors West” from Tenors West by Jimmy Giuffre & The Marty Paich Octet (1955)

The three-tenors-and-baritone sax sound was first introduced in 1947 by Woody Herman and His Orchestra in their smash hit “Four Brothers”. It was then reintroduced in 1955 by Marty Paich for his Tenors West recording. Who better for him to have recruited for this project than the composer of “Four Brothers”, tenor saxophonist Jimmy Giuffre; alongside an octet comprised of some of the finest players in California, including Bob Cooper and Conte Candoli. Although the writing was solely tackled by Paich, the album is as much Giuffre’s, with the bulk of the improvising falling on the tenorist – an important reminder that his playing, though overshadowed by his aforementioned composition, is among the finest of any era. My choice, the title track, composed by Paich himself, opens the album and superbly sets the tone to come.

Highlights among the over 50 articles he has published include interviews with such names as Christian McBride, Bob Mintzer and Curtis Stigers, and a five-part series on the life and career of saxophonist Steve Grossman.

 

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