Multi-instrumentalist Charlie Jennison plays lead alto sax, flute and soprano sax with the Seacoast Big Band and is also a member of the Capitol Jazz Orchestra that plays frequently at the Capital Center for the Arts in Concord, NH. Currently a partner in the "CJ Duo," he can be found playing piano or saxophone at the Centennial Inn in Concord on Tuesday and Thursday nights, with CJ Poole on bass.
For more than 30 years, Charlie worked with Exeter, NH based jazz pianist Tommy Gallant, a teacher at the Berklee School of Music and an alumnus of Woody Herman's band, who heavily influenced Charlie's growth as a musician and music educator. Charlie also studied with such major jazz figures as Jerry Bergonzi, Charlie Mariano, Jerry Coker, and Ted Casher.
Additionally, Charlie has shared the stage or been in the recording studio with such notable jazz musicians as Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy DeFranco, Alan Dawson, and Marshal Royal as well as backing up live performances for other exceptional musicians such as Rosemary Clooney, Carmen Bradford, Natalie Cole, Andy Williams, Delfeayo Marsalis, jazz violinist Sara Caswell, saxophonist Grace Kelly, and singer/songwriter Jon Bon Jovi!
Over the course of his career, Charlie has taught private music lessons at Dartmouth College, Univ. of New Hampshire and the Univ. of Maine as well as courses in Music History and Jazz Improvisation at UNH and Granite State College. He has also taught at St. Paul's School, the UNH Summer Youth Music School, and the Phillips Exeter Summer Music Program.
A versatile educator, whether presenting jazz performances & workshops for libraries, jazz societies, & schools throughout the New England region or coaching a jazz combo, directing a jazz band, or giving a lecture on the history of jazz in the NH Seacoast, Charlie brings his love for music to all things jazz-related.
Currently teaching at Phillips Exeter Academy where he is a member of the faculty jazz quartet, Charlie also offers private instruction on classical and jazz saxophone for all levels of experience, as well as jazz piano instruction for beginning and intermediate players.
About Charlie's Studio Work . . .
In addition to releasing his own album of original jazz tunes, Iridescence, featuring his quartet of the same name – accompanied by bassist John Hunter, drummer Ken Clark, and pianist Jim Butka. Charlie is a versatile player who has been featured in many groups and on many recordings with - just to name a few: Devonsquare, Unu Mondo, Do’a World Music Ensemble (of which he was a member for 6 years), and Ben Baldwin & the Big Note as well as backing up vocalists Barbara London, Kathleen Kolman and Leila Percy on their albums.
While Charlie is best-known for his work as a performing jazz improviser and dependable studio musician with “great ears", Charlie has also created musical arrangements for several big bands he plays with, including the Freese Brothers Big Band, the Capitol Center Jazz Orchestra, and the Seacoast Big Band.
Over the years, Charlie has also written arrangements for such diverse musicians as Lucie Therrien, Linda Pouliot, Claire Rothrock (known for writing the song "Old Cape Cod"), Brownie MacIntosh, Dave Guard (of Kingston Trio fame), and the Shaw Brothers. His eclectic career has also included performances on recording projects for Bill Morrissey, Ed Gerhardt, Susie Burke, and David Surette.
Charlie Jennison - Jazz Educator . . . (BA, Music Education, - MA, Jazz Composition)
Charlie is also available for adjudicating at jazz festivals & appearing as a visiting artist/soloist/clinician with high school bands. He brings to the table years of experience gained from adjudicating at the All State Jazz Festivals in both NH & ME, as well as for the Clark Terry Jazz Festival held annually at UNH.
How to Hire Charlie . . .
Charlie provides music as a solo piano player or as a duo with a bass player or guitarist. As the leader of a trio, he usually adds a drummer to the mix. If you want a great jazz sound for your event, hire Charlie's quartet for the wonderfully rich tapestry of complex jazz melodies, improvisation, and rhythms that become inevitable when you add more players to the mix (Charlie on sax, with a piano player, bass player, and a drummer). A quintet with a vocalist or an extra horn player allows for even more possibilities.
As an experienced professional musician, Charlie would be very happy to consult with you about how his musical services can help you create what you envision for your event, from a jazz brunch to dinner music, or for your special occasion such as: anniversary or birthday celebrations, holiday events, music festivals, concerts, corporate functions, First Night, etc. Because Charlie works with a network of professional musicians from Boston to Portland, he will be able to provide a group as small as a solo piano player or as large as a full swing orchestra or big band...and he's happy to help you decide what group and style of music would best fit your needs, goals, and special ideas for the event you're imagining.