Charles Earland

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Charles Earland
Charles Earland.jpg
Charles Earland, 1983
Background information
Born(1941-05-24)May 24, 1941
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died(1999-12-11)December 11, 1999
Kansas City, Missouri
GenresJazz, soul jazz, blues, funk
Years active1966–1999
LabelsPrestige, Muse, Mercury, Columbia, Milestone
Associated actsJimmy McGriff

Charles Earland (May 24, 1941 – December 11, 1999) was an American jazz organist.[1]


Earland was born in Philadelphia and learned to play the saxophone in high school.[1] He played tenor with Jimmy McGriff at the age of 17 and in 1960 formed his first group. He started playing the organ after playing with Pat Martino, and joined Lou Donaldson's band from 1968 to 1969.[1]

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 the funk group Brass Construction. The record was in the U.S. charts for five weeks and reached number 46 in the UK Singles Chart.[2] With Earland's playing on synthesizer, the track also has an uncredited female vocalist. He had several moderate Billboard R&B chart hits in the mid-1970s and early '80s on Mercury and later Columbia Records.

Earland traveled extensively from 1988 until his death in 1999, performing throughout the USA and abroad. One of the highlights of his latter years was playing at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1994. Among the musicians that performed with him at the Berlin Jazz Festival was the Alabama-born Chicago resident, Zimbabu Hamilton.[3] on the drums. Earland died in Kansas City, Missouri, of heart failure at the age of 58.[1]


As leader[edit]

LP/CD compilations[edit]

  • Burners (Prestige MPP 2501, 1980)
  • Organomically Correct (32 Jazz, 1999; reissued on Savoy Jazz in 2003)
  • The Almighty Burner (32 Jazz, 2000; reissued on Savoy Jazz in 2003)
  • Charlie's Greatest Hits (Prestige, 2000) (compilation drawn from 4 different Earland albums, and 1 track from Boogaloo Joe Jones' Right On Brother + 2 previously unreleased live tracks)
  • Anthology (Soul Brother [UK] Records, 2000) [2CD]
  • Charles Earland In Concert: At The Montreux Jazz Festival And The Lighthouse (Prestige, 2002) (compilation of Live At The Lighthouse + Kharma)
  • Funk Fantastique (Prestige, 2004) (compilation of Charles III + 4 bonus tracks from the same sessions)
  • The Mighty Burner: The Best Of His High Note Recordings (High Note, 2004)
  • Scorched, Seared & Smokin': The Best Of "The Mighty Burner" (High Note, 2011) [3CD]

As sideman[edit]

With Bob DeVos

  • Breaking The Ice (Savant, 1999)

With Eric Alexander

With Rusty Bryant

With Lou Donaldson

With George Freeman

  • Introducing George Freeman Live ...With Charlie Earland Sitting In (Giant Step, 1971)
  • Franticdiagnosis (Bam-Boo, 1972)

With Sonny Hopson

  • Life & Mad ...Featuring Charlie Earland (Giant Step, 1970)

With Willis Jackson

With Boogaloo Joe Jones

With Houston Person


  1. ^ a b c d Ginell, Richard S. "Charles Earland". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  2. ^ Robertsr, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 176. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ Archived 2007-10-09 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]