Brian Charette, a New York City and occasional Berkshires performer, is releasing his newest album, "Like The Sun," that incorporates electronica elements into traditional jazz.
"This is the most accurate representation of the music that I hear in my head," the organist and keyboardist said recently.
He describes this album's genre as electronica in simple terms, but sometimes refers to it as "intergalactic yacht rock meets Kraftwerk, meets Harlem juke joint."
He hopes bringing his electronic influences into the jazz world will appeal to both a traditional jazz audience as well as a younger audience. Charette wants this album to be enjoyed by people of all ages and origins: "The main message is everyone can come to this party."
The album also aims to make jazz accessible to everyone, because those not educated in music tend to feel intimated by jazz, he said.
"I'm trying to make it a little something for everyone and I'm trying to stretch the jazz listeners to come to my electronics and more unusual treatments," Charette said.
Currently Charette lives in the East Village, where he has been since 1994. He grew up in the Hartford, Conn., music scene and played piano. Being halfway between Boston and New York, he would wind up on gigs with jazz luminaries such as Lou Donaldson and Houston Person.
Upon moving to New York, he converted from the traditional piano to an electric portable organ called the Hammond XB2. Charette was the DownBeat Critic's Poll Rising Star of 2014 for organ and Hot House Magazine's Best Organist in New York in 2015.
About 15 years ago, he started his own music group and created several albums with Denmark label SteepleChase Records. Charette has also played piano and organ on hundreds of other musician's records.
Charette had been working on performances for "Like The Sun" two years prior, but did most of the recordings in April during the height of the pandemic. The entire album took about two days to record because of the amount of rehearsal Charette put in beforehand.
With this album, he also wants to express unity. "We are all on the same team" in the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. And being a resident of New York City, the isolation of lockdown influenced the feeling of this album.
Other inspirations behind "Like The Sun's" songs include Charette's time in New Orleans and meeting his wife.
Charette explains that what sets this album apart from traditional electronic music is that it was performed live in his personal studio. While electronic music typically is recorded in separate parts and then mixed together, "Like The Sun" is a multitrack recording with no editing.
He created the album by playing one or two keyboards while manipulating the other machines to play their parts simultaneously.
"I think this unusual for electronic music, which is usually very manipulated in the mixing and production stage," he said.
Charette is influenced by music from the '70s. In his younger days, he listened to the Beegees and progressive rock bands such as Yes. This is where his interest in synthesizers comes from.
"The music sounds very optimistic, this is why the title of the album is 'Like The Sun,'" he said. "I feel like the melodies and the harmony are very suggestive of the music in the '70s that I grew up with."
Charette currently works full time as a piano and organ teacher. He teaches all levels of pianists, group classes, and music production. He also teaches part time at New School and the 92nd Street YMCA in New York. Charette has students from around the world whom he teaches over Zoom.
Before COVID-19, he played gigs all over the world, including a number of performances in the Berkshires.
A CD release stream of "Like The Sun" will take place digitally on Saturday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m. on Soapboxgallery.org. After it's release, "Like The Sun" will be available on most music streaming services.
Charette's single "Break Tune" is available on Spotify. For updates, visit @pinchbrian on Instagram.
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City of Pittsfield Street Improvement Project Schedule Update
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Please be advised of the following work that will take place starting the week of June 14-18, as part of the City of Pittsfield's 2021 Street Improvement Project.
Beginning Monday through Friday, contractors will initiate curb removal on the following streets: Hawthorne Avenue, Oxford Street, Brenton Terrace, Cadwell Road, Velma Avenue, Westview Road, Scott Drive and Buel Street.
During this work, on-street parking is prohibited during the hours of 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. in these locations.
Please note the schedule is subject to change based on weather conditions.
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