Local trumpeter Jason Charos discusses Grammy-winning album ‘Omni’ before St. Pete Jazz Fest

“I can't thank Prof. Brian Lynch enough for including me on this now Grammy-winning recording for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.”

click to enlarge Jason Charos (third from right), with his new band The Booker Little Project. - JASON CHAROS/FACEBOOK
Jason Charos/Facebook
Jason Charos (third from right), with his new band The Booker Little Project.

Tampa Bay trumpeter and Frost School student Jason Charos is riding high on the Grammy-winning effort he put forth on Brian Lynch’s Omni American Book Club (which took home hardware for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” earlier this month).

Lynch is Charos’ trumpet teacher and mentor at the University of Miami, and he’s been one of Charos’ musical heroes.

St. Petersburg Jazz Festival
Wed.-Sun. Feb. 26-March 1. $25-$35.
Palladium Theater, 253 5th Ave N, St. Petersburg.

“The first record of his that I heard was [2016’s] Madera Latino, the one just preceding this big band record. It featured Woody Shaw arrangements he wrote for a band in which the horns were all trumpets,” Charos told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay in an email. “From that time, I dreamed of being on one of his albums but didn't really see it happening in the near future, anyway.”

That makes Charos’ appearance on Omni American Book Club a literal dream come true. But it wasn’t initially supposed to work out that way. Charos’ path to the Omni sessions started when Lynch recommended the young trumpet for a gig with percussionist Sammy Figueroa (Raíces, Bobby Valentín band).

“I was elated to be playing with Sammy. But that week got even better when Brian asked me to sub in the rehearsal for his big band album that he was going to be recording the following week,” Charos added. Lynch’s original plan for the recording was to play his solo parts and with the trumpet section—but that changed, and he asked Charos if he’d be available on the recording date.

“He was leaning towards not playing in the section,” Charis said. “I immediately said ‘Yes.’ At the end of the rehearsal, he said, ‘I'm going to need you.’"

It was the only rehearsal Charos had. He sight-read all the music and returned to St. Petersburg before the sessions, where he had a chance to practice some of the music—without the charts.

“[Lynch] emailed the remainder of the music to me the day before the first day of recording. I had a chance to look over them at the airport on my way back to Miami,” Charos said. He spent 22 hours over the next three days recording horns for Omni American Book Club.

“It was such an amazing and humbling experience. I improved so much being in the studio those three days with so many amazing musicians,” Charos added. “I can't thank Prof. Brian Lynch enough for including me on this now Grammy-winning recording for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.”

Charos brings his latest band, the Booker Little Project, to the 2020 St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, which kicks off today. The Booker Little project—an homage to the American trumpet player who played with Johnny Griffin (and the MJQ), Max Roach, Eric Dolphy, Abbey Lincoln, John Coltrane and Booker Ervin—hits Palladium Theater’s Side Door Cabaret on Sunday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m.

More information is available at stpetejazzfest.com.

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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