Whenever you ask what’s his passion, smooth jazz guitarist Clifford Charles, with eyes glinting, declares: “It’s music…or nothing”. This definitely shows as scores of fans of his home-grown brand of silky-smooth, Caribbean jazz music, are convinced that Clifford is set to take on the world! After performing at some of the flagship music festivals in Trinidad and Tobago - Jazz Artistes on the Greens (2005 & 2008), Jazz on the Beach (2008 - 2010), We Beat Jazz (2009), Jazzpoint (2010) - and sharing the stage with an array of first rate artists like: Theron Shaw, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Clive Zanda, Elan Parlé, Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, Ella Andall, Errol Ince and Arturo Tappin - Clifford is by no means resting on his laurels…not by a long shot!Clifford was 15 years old when his expressive voice on the strings was unearthed by music teachers Orasio Lewis and Ken Archer. So intensely was he mesmerized by music, it led him to play professionally with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Band, performing from classics to calypso. Though he played clarinet in the early days, he soon returned to his roots on the guitar, urged on by senior band members Keith Christmas and Jeffrey Smith. Clifford thrived on their coaching in jazz theory and tips on creating “soulfulness” in his guitar riffs – lessons he undoubtedly took to heart!Years of experience on the circuit sharpened Clifford’s fiery, yet free-flowing style on the guitar. Although he lists Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian and Trinidad’s Fitzroy Coleman among his influences, he credits Jim Phillips (pannist), for introducing him to the soulful grooves of George Benson. And that was when jazz…smooth jazz won out! For Clifford, jazz is the musical expression that brings the greatest satisfaction to both artist and audience when he commands a stage. So what can Caribbean and international music audiences expect from Clifford Charles? Nothing less than a tapestry of Caribbean-flavoured, smooth jazz expressions,
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