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90 North Professor Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

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Charles McPherson was born in Joplin, Missouri and moved to Detroit at age nine. After growing up in Detroit, he studied with the renowned pianist Barry Harris and started playing jazz professionally at age 19. He moved from Detroit to New York in 1959 and performed with Charles Mingus from 1960 to 1972. While performing with Mingus, he collaborated frequently with Harris, Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet), and George Coleman (tenor sax).

McPherson remains a strong, viable force on the jazz scene today. Throughout his over six decades of being an integral performer of the music, Charles has not merely remained true to his Bebop origins but has expanded on them. Stanley Crouch says in his New York Times article on Charles, “he is a singular voice who has never sacrificed the fluidity of his melody making and is held in high esteem by musicians both long seasoned and young.” Wynton Marsalis, a longtime admirer says: “Charles is the very definition of excellence in our music. He’s the definitive master on this instrument. He plays with exceptional harmonic accuracy and sophistication. He performs free-flowing, melodic and thematically developed solos with unbelievable fire and an unparalleled depth of soul.”

  • Henry Samra

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