Charlie started taking lessons on soprano sax at the age of 6. He went on to audition at Chetham’s School of Music in Spring 2012, and was awarded a place starting that September (at the age of 11). During his eight years at “Chet’s”, he took weekly lessons with Iain Dixon (clarinetist on Michael Brecker’s Grammy Award-winning album Wide Angles) and Hallé Orchestra veteran Jim Muirhead, under whose supervision he began to develop a voice on the alto, tenor and baritone saxes. He also gained plenty of experience performing in a range of large and small ensembles over this time, notably as a member of the Greater Manchester Hub Jazz Orchestra from 2017 until it disbanded in 2019.

In 2020, Charlie was a BBC Young Jazz Musician semi-finalist. Later that year, he moved to London to continue his studies at the Royal Academy of Music (class of 2024). His saxophone tuition at the academy primarily takes place with Stan Sulzmann and Martin Speake, but he has also studied privately with NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman. Since 2022, Charlie has appeared on lead alto with the London Jazz Orchestra several times, and once as conductor. He has also performed with legendary American pianist Richie Beirach, his close friend and most important mentor.

"Charlie’s sax playing is very strong and expressive, especially on tenor sax, which I think is his true voice."
Richie identity in circle
Richie Beirach
Hessheim, Germany
"Charlie Rees is an exciting tenor player, fluent in a style reminiscent of Steve Grossman in both sound and intensity, but entirely his own man."
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Jeff Williams
American jazz drummer
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