Born: February 8, 1987 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Charles Lane's Bio
Charles Lane’s saxophone playing is a completely emotional experience. His progressive view on art compliments the way he writes, plays and understands music. Charles' playing has been called technically great, alive and vibrant (smilepolitely.com). Bending the rules of jazz by incorporating elements of the hip-hop, pop and jazz idioms, he views music as a forward thinking art-form that should be a reflection of the times, not what was, but what is and what will be.
Hailing from the North Suburbs of Chicago, Charles graduated with honors with a B.M. in Jazz Performance on the saxophone and a minor in Anthropology with an emphasis in Ethnomusicology and Andean Studies at the esteemed University Of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign in the Spring of 2009. Of the many awards and scholarships Charles has been given, he was named a Fulbright Scholar Alternate to Lima, Peru in 2009. The list of exceptional artists Charles has had the privilege of performing with include the late Jazz Violin great Johnny Frigo, Count Basie drummer Harold Jones, Frank Sinatra drummer Bob Chmel, The Brubeck Brothers Trio, bassist Jeff Campbell, pianist Reggie Thomas, saxophonist Wayne Escoffery amongst others.
At the young age of 18, Charles toured Spain and Portugal on a fantastic three week tour in which his combo performed all over each country respectively. While in Spain and Portugal, Charles performed at the Spanish-American Embassy in Madrid and the Portuguese-American Embassy in Lisbon as well as other top venues in each country. Charles was one of three teaching assistants selected at the prestigious Birch Creek Music Performance Workshop in the summer of 2006 where he taught some of the best up and coming Jazz musicians in the country, while also playing in the professional all-star big-band, The Birch Creek Academy Band, for two weeks. His performances have not only spanned continents, but locally in Chicago and surrounding areas, at such well-known venues as The Jazz Showcase, Pete Miller’s, Hot House, Chicago’s Symphony Center and Grant and Millennium Parks respectively.
He has released two full length albums. The first, The Price Of Air is available everywhere music is sold on internet. It is an exploration of hip-hop and free music and how they can be joined with jazz.
His second album, Awaken will be released October 20, 2010, and is available in hard-copy, with digital distribution available in the coming months. It blends musics steeped in jazz tradition, to arrangements of both Fiona Apple and Radiohead pieces. With five originals, Lane is as proficient a composer as he is an arranger.
Charles was honored to be named a member of 2009 Mid-Atlantic Teach for America Corps. In the summer of 2009, he moved to Philadelphia to begin his two year teaching commitment, serving high need communities in Philadelphia. Currently, he is making a name for himself in Philadelphia with a new quintet and new music. He is simultaneously working in the inner-city teaching 2nd grade, attaining his Master's in Urban Education at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania and cutting his teeth on the vibrant and eclectic music scene that is Philadelphia.
As an artist, Charles is a firm believer that an appreciation and respect for the past is just as important as being a progressive and challenging musician. He constantly tries to develop ways to blend the past, present and future together in a synchronized fashion that simultaneously challenges the listener and speaks to them. For communication is the goal of all artists. That is where the true beauty lies.
Awards:Fulbright Scholar Alternate - 2009/2010 Teach For America Corps Member - 2009 Outstanding Improvisor, Rolling Meadows Jazz Festival - 2004, 2005
From Joe Six-pack to Joe the Plumber to Joe Rock-oriented-music- enthusiast, when the term “Jazz” is brought up images are conjured of either 15 minute, unintelligible free form jams or of smooth but insufferably boring elevator music. The everyday man is content to “not get” Jazz or see it as something from another era. I admit, I more often look back than forward when listening to the genre, but that can only be seen as a fault.
Case in point: local musician and University of Illinois student, Charles Lane’s new album The Price of Air. Released October 9 at Zorba’s on Green Street, Lane’s 50 minute disc retells some tales, featuring three covers, but catches the listener’s attention with his original compositions. Though the seven- track album is a tad longer than the 30-40 minute pop/rock record, it doesn’t suffer by its length and allows for some rewarding moments to burst out of the mix. Recorded at Pogo Studios, Lane’s CD still manages to capture a vibrant, live feel. The disc features Lane on tenor and soprano saxophone while accompanied by drums, double bass, piano and trumpet.
The opening track, “Suite: Prince,” begins with a single piano note hit in 4/4 time. Slowly, other notes join in to form a chord; the rhythm section comes in and by a minute and 40 seconds in the band is in full swing. The drums, played by Brent Jordan, shine through on this track. Playing time keeper while being incredibly expressive, Jordan has some serious skills. On this track, and the album as a whole, the trumpet and saxophone have an interesting chemistry. Smooth and technically great, the saxophone is at center stage, but the bursts and bleets out of Zubin Edalji’s trumpet compliment help keep the songs dynamic. Lane and company tackle Radiohead’s “Last Flower,” my favorite cover on the album. Lane’s saxophone really recreates that desperate tone of Thom Yorke’s vocals as it mimics its melody. “My Confusion” is a scattered, desperate song that sounds exactly what the name implies is a nice departure from the sound of the rest of the album. The closing song, “The Weeping Rose,” highlights the band’s ability to work as a unit and serves as a fitting in to a solid album. Not to say that it occupies the middle ground on the previously mentioned spectrum, because that would imply mediocrity, but it does come off as very sincere, accessible and not in the least self- indulgent.
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Teaching Assistant - Birch Creek Music Performance Center, 2006 Jazz Theory Instructor - Midwest Young Artists, 2005 Private Saxophone/Piano Instructor - 2000-present Resides in Philadelphia, $40/hr.