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Charlie Austin

Highly valued as an educator, Charlie’s just ‘retired’ after nearly three decades of teaching at Grant McEwan College, nurturing and guiding hundreds of students in the fundamentals of jazz piano, many who have become great musicians in their own right. Many players cite Charlie as a major influence, including recording artist Brian Buchanan, who still talks about how he incorporates all the valuable lessons he took with Charlie many years ago.

Charlie has played in a variety of professional musical situations in Alberta including the Tom Banks show on C.B.C., the ITV series of concerts produced in the seventies, and the 2nd City T.V. series produced in Edmonton. Many jazz performances include dates with Sam Noto, and Nat Adderly, and Trudy Desmond.

In 1996, Charlie completed a week-long assignment accompanying Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan and their students in a vocal-jazz workshop at the Banff Center For The Arts. Recently, he played for vocalists Jeri Brown and Flora Ware at the Yardbird Suite. Charlie is also a constant presence at the Jazz Jam Nights at the Suite and lends support for both emerging musicians, and veterans in the Jazz Jam Scene.

Charlie is a most accomplished musician, his playing is at once strong and deeply sensitive, he has a beautiful sense of time, and his influences invoke the styles of Bill Evans and George Shearing, with a little Fats Waller tossed in. He is equally at home ’stepping out’, developing modal concepts and painting an aural depth that describes space and sound in an ethereal manner. He is a harmonic genius, and in fact has written and published two books on the the art of playing jazz piano, ‘An Approach to Jazz Piano’, and ‘Contemporary Piano Studies’, both highly regarded as fundamentals for students (and professionals!) of jazz.

With credits to Cindy McLeod for excerpts taken from http://www.jazzelements.com/08/05/jazz-pianist-and-educator-charlie-austin/

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