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Charles Alexander

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Biography of Charles Alexander

Charles Alexander began his musical career as a jazz guitarist in Edinburgh, where he ran the Edinburgh University Jazz Club and played with Scottish fusion pioneers Head. He moved to London in 1973, where for nine years he was Director of the Jazz Centre Society, producing hundreds of jazz events ranging from weekly jazz club events to full scale jazz festivals such as the Camden Jazz Week.

Since 1982 he has concentrated on his own musical activities as a busy jazz guitarist on the London scene. He is one-half of the Charles Alexander / Andy Robinson Guitar Duo and currently plays in a trio with saxophonist Frank Griffith and bassist Simon Thorpe. Among the many musicians he has worked with are saxophonists Jim Tomlinson, Mark Crookes, Jeffrey Benson and Tony Burns, bassists Jeff Clyne and Peter Ind and pianist Brian Priestley.

A committed jazz educator, he has been Jazz Guitar Tutor at Richmond Adult Community College for over 20 years and also teaches privately.

In 1984 Charles founded Jazzwise Publications, which publishes the monthly Jazzwise Magazine and distributes jazz music instructional books, software and DVDs. He organises the annual Jazzwise Summer School with Jamey Aebersold in Richmond, Surrey, and has presented seminars and clinics in London by leading jazz guitarists including Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel, Howard Roberts, George Van Eps, Joe Diorio, Ike Isaacs, Martin Taylor and Wayne Krantz.

From 1982 to 1997 he was co-organiser of the IJF European Jazz Competition, held each October at Leverkusen, Germany.

As a radio broadcaster, he presented seven series of BBC Radio 2's Six Silver Strings programmes and in 1994 he wrote and presented the 12-part series The Guitar in Jazz for BBC Radio 3. He also presented the 13-part music documentary series Jazz From Europe and a fortnighty magazine programme Jazz Scene UK for BBC World Service

In 1999 his book Masters of Jazz Guitar was published by Balafon Books and he has co-authored two books with Nick Freeth - The Acoustic Guitar and The Electric Guitar. Recent CDs include When Lights Are Low (Deep River Records) and A Handful of Stars (33 Jazz), both with saxophonist Jeffrey Benson.


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