Born in Mississippi and raised in Chicago, Charles graduated from the famous DuSable High School, studied at the Chicago School of Music and was a private student of John Hauser.
50’s -- Played in the bands of Billie Holiday and Ben Webster, Sun Ra and Dinah Washington. Performed and recorded with Kenny Dorham with whom he had a musical association that lasted many years.
60’s -- Performed and recorded with Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison, Illinois Jacquet, Freddie Hubbard, Johnny Griffin, Steve Lacy, Ahmad Jamal and worked with Blue Mitchell, Erskine Hawkins, John Coltrane, Clifford Jordan, among others. In 1964 he won Downbeat Magazine’s International Jazz Critics Poll for the baritone saxophone. Performed in the musical production of “The Philosophy of The Spiritual--A Masque of the Black” under the direction of Willie Jones and the auspices of Nadi Qumar. Taught at PS 179 in Brooklyn and was musical director of The Turntable, a nightclub owned by Lloyd Price.
70’s -- Member of the cooperative group “Artistry in Music” with Hank Mobley, Cedar Walton, Sam Jones and Billy Higgins; was the co-leader and composer/arranger for the Baritone Saxophone Retinue, a group featuring six baritone saxophones; made European tours of major jazz festivals and concerts with the Clark Terry Orchestra; and toured the USA with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington. Musical director of the Home of the Id nightclub, presenting such artists as Gene Ammons, Randy Weston, Max Roach, as well as producer of Monday Night Boat Ride Up The Hudson presenting, among others, Art Blakey, George Benson, and Etta Jones. Made TV appearances with Archie Shepp, Lucky Thompson, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.