Charles McPherson was born in Joplin, Missouri and moved to Detroit at age nine. After growing up in Detroit, he studied with the renewed 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 Hilyer and George Coleman. McPherson has performed at concerts and festivals with his own variety of groups, consisting of quartets, quintets to full orchestras. He was recently featured at Lincloln Jazz Center showcasing his original compositions and arrangements with a seven-piece ensemble. He has toured USA, Europe, Japan, Africa and South America with his own group, as well as with jazz greats Barry Harris, Billy Eckestine, Lionel Hampton, Nat Adderly, Jay McShann, Phil Woods, Wytnon Marsalis, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie and others.
Charles McPherson has recorded as guest artist with Charles Mingus, Barry Harris, Art Farmer, Kenny Drew, Toshiko Akiyoshi, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. He has recordes as leader on Prestigi, Fantasy, Mainstream, Discovery, Xanadu and most recently Arabesque. His most recent recording is the highly acclaimed “Manhattan Nocturne”.
McPherson was also the featured alto saxophonist in the Clint Eastwood film “Bird”, a biography about Charlie Parker.
Today, Charles McPherson remains a strong, viable force on the jazz scene. He is at the height of his powers. His playing combines passionate feeling with intricate patterns o improvisation. Throughout his five decades of being an integral performer of the music, Charles has not merely remained true to his Be Bop origins, but has expanded on them. Stanley Crouch says in his New York Time 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”.
Charles McPherson Quartet
Charles McPherson- alto saxophone
Photo of Charles McPherson by Antonio Porcar (Winner of the New York Jazz Journalists Association ” Photo of the Year 2014 “)