Charles Earland

Charles Earland (24 May 1941 – 11 December 1999) was an American jazz composer, organist, and saxophonist in the soul jazz idiom. Earland was born in Philadelphia and learned to play the saxophone in high school. He played tenor with Jimmy McGriff at the age of seventeen, and in 1960 started his first group. He started playing the organ after playing with Pat Martino, and joined Lou Donaldson's band from 1968 to 1969. The group that he led from 1970, including Grover Washington, Jr., was successful, and he eventually started playing soprano saxophone and synthesizer. His hard, simmering grooves earned him the nickname, 'The Mighty Burner'. In 1978 Earland hit the disco/club scene with a track recorded on Mercury Records called "Let the Music Play", written by Randy Muller from Brass Construction. The record was in the U.S. charts for 5 weeks and reached number 46 in the UK Singles Chart. With Earland's playing on synthesizer, the track also has an uncredited female vocalist. From 1988 until his death, Earland traveled extensively. One of the many highlights of his latter years was playing at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1994.


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