A personal note from Charles McPherson

“2019 was a spectacular year for me. From a celebration of my work & 80th Birthday at Lincoln Center, countless performances with many gifted, young musicians, to recording 16 of my new compositions written for ballet in December at Van Gelder Studio that will be released soon.

2020: A jolting halt for all of us. We will be back. We’re working on performances for the Fall, and into 2021 including a another celebration in my birth-town of Joplin, Missouri & special concerts in Detroit, Hollywood Bowl, and much more. Stay tuned! For now, being home and healthy is what matters the most for all of us. I am Skype teaching more than ever, and enjoying the bright faces and music from around the world. We will all get through this together. Stay well, and many blessings to you all.” C.M.

Legends – Fall Arts Preview

by George Varga, Union Tribune September 2019
Wynton Marsalis, a long time admirer says: “Charles is the very definition of excellence in our music. He’s the definitive master on his 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.” Read the story here.

Charles and Camille McPhersonOh, baby!

Charles & Camille McPherson began collaborating even before her birth. Read this great story at San Diego Union Tribune.

San Diego Ballet’s Resident Composer

Charles Joins San Diego Ballet as Their Resident Composer for 2017! read more…

Redman Award_home

Charles Receives the 15th Annual Don Redman Jazz Heritage Award

The 2016 15th Annual Don Redman Heritage Award was presented to Charles McPherson in recognition of his musicianship, humanity and dignity, as an asset to jazz in the tradition of Don Redman, and whose work in music and education illuminate the spirit of Don Redman” Find out more…

Re-issue of “Illusions in Blue”

“McPherson has not merely remained true to his bop origins but has expanded on them, both as improvising soloist and as composer. . . .his sound bold and full, he brought his own values to three of his original pieces: “Horizons,” with its shifting moods; “Illusions in Blue,” a sort of 21st Century variation on the blues with archly ingenious piano chording and the rich, almost lushly evocative “A Tear and a Smile.” Having thus displayed his dual talents as composer/player, McPherson then felt free to tear into “Cherokee” at a breakneck pace.”  Leonard Feather-Los Angeles Times


Illusions In Blue 1990 – Recorded live in La Jolla California. A limited amount of this re-issue is now available through Chazz Jazz.

 (read the full liner notes here)
Sample the title track of “Illusions in Blue”

Purchase the Album

Doctor of Fine Arts, Charles McPherson

CSUSMCalifornia State University San Marcos awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts, to Charles McPherson during its commencement ceremonies on May 16, 2015. See photos, the diploma, the citation, and the University’s press release >>

Photo Credit Nick Ruechel
Photo Credit: Nick Ruechel

Charles McPherson

Charles McPherson was born in Joplin, Missouri and grew 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 ’60 to ’72, also collaborating frequently with Harris, Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet), and George Coleman (tenor sax). Read more about Charles >>

“The Journey” Album

Album Charts The Remarkable Musical Voyage Of Saxophone Legend Charles McPherson

Album released by Capri Records on CD February 17, 2015!

DownBeat MagazineEditor’s Pick March 2015

McPherson has put out a prodigious album…one listen is all it takes to know that this is at the way you’re supposed to play” – Brian Zimmerman, DownBeat Magazine

Bebop, sharp and driving.” – Nate Chinen, The New York Times

Here’s a sample of “The Journey” track:

And a sample of  the “I Should Care” track:

Read the 2-17-15 Press Release

Read the Album Reviews

Purchase the Album