Dennis Charles

born on 4/12/1933 in Saint Croix, United States Minor Outlying Islands

died on 26/3/1998

Denis Charles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Denis Charles (December 4, 1933 – March 24, 1998) was a jazz drummer.


Charles was born in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and first played bongos at age seven with local ensembles in the Virgin Islands. In 1945 he moved to New York, and gigged frequently around town. In 1954 he began working with Cecil Taylor, and the pair collaborated through 1958. Following this he played with Steve Lacy, Gil Evans, and Jimmy Giuffre. He befriended Ed Blackwell, and the two influenced each other.

He recorded with Sonny Rollins on a calypso-tinged set, and then returned to time with Lacy, with whom he played until 1964. He worked with Archie Shepp and Don Cherry in 1967 and then disappeared from the record until 1971. In the 1970s and 1980s he played regularly on the New York jazz scene with Frank Lowe, David Murray, Charles Tyler, Billy Bang, and others, and also played funk, rock, and traditional Caribbean music. He released three discs as a leader between 1989-1992, and died in New York City in 1998.[1]

Denis Charles died four days after a five-week European tour with the Borgmann/Morris/Charles (BMC) Trio, with Wilber Morris and Thomas Borgmann. His last concert with this trio took place at the Berlin Willy-Brandt-Haus. With the BMC Trio he recorded in his last two years about four CDs. The fifth CD was released after he died: The Last Concert - Dankeschön, Silkheart Records, 1999.

2001 Veronique N. Doumbe released a film documentary Denis A. Charles: An Interrupted Conversation about the life of Denis Alphonso Charles.[2]


As leader

  • 1989: Queen Mary (Silkheart Records)
  • 1991: Captain of the Deep (Eremite Records)
  • 1992: A Scream for Charles Tyler (Adda Records)

As sideman

With Cecil Taylor

  • 1956: Jazz Advance (Transition)
  • 1958: At Newport (Verve)
  • 1959: Looking Ahead! (Contemporary)
  • 1959: Love for Sale (United Artists)
  • 1959: In Transition (Blue Note)
  • 1960: The World of Cecil Taylor (Candid)
  • 1960: Air (Candid)
  • 1961: Cell Walk for Celeste (Candid)
  • 1961: Jumpin' Punkins (Candid)
  • 1961: New York City R&B (Candid) with Buell Neidlinger

With Steve Lacy

  • 1958: Soprano Sax (Prestige)
  • 1963: School Days
  • 1982: The Flame (Soul Note)

With Gil Evans

  • 1959: Great Jazz Standards (World Pacific)

With Sonny Rollins

  • 1962: What's New? (RCA Victor)

With Archie Shepp

  • 1967: The Magic of Ju-Ju (Impulse!)

With Billy Bang

  • 1981: Rainbow Gladiator (Soul Note)
  • 1982: Invitation (Soul Note)
  • 1982: Bangception, Willisau 1982
  • 1988: Valve No. 10 (Soul Note)

With Jemeel Moondoc

  • 1981: Konstanze's Delight (Soul Note)
  • 1981: We Don't (Eremite Records, 2003)

With Wilber Morris and Charles Tyler

  • 1981: Collective Improvisations (Bleu Regard, 1994)

With The Jazz Doctors (Rafael Garrett, Frank Lowe, Billy Bang)

  • 1983: Intensive Care (Cadillac Records)

With Rob Brown

  • 1990: Breath Rhyme (Silkheart Records)

With William Parker

  • 1995: In Order to Survive (Black Saint)


  1. *[Denis Charles at All Music Guide Denis Charles] at Allmusic
  2. film documentary by Veronique N. Doumbe at

External links

This page was last modified 26.03.2014 16:55:02

This article uses material from the article Denis Charles from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.