Teddy CharlesJazz | 2010
Born on April 13, 1928, Teddy Charles (Cohen) is considered one of the great jazz vibraphonists and composers of all time. He has played alongside such jazz legends as Charlie Mingus, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis—his distinctive vibes style making a major contribution to the development of be-bop and hard bop, and creating many of the innovative sounds that define modern jazz. As a student at Julliard in the mid-1940s, Charles haunted New York’s jazz clubs, occasionally sitting in with the bands on vibes or piano. His break came unexpectedly one night when he was asked to sit in on piano with Coleman Hawkins’ band for the overdue Thelonious Monk. Soon after, Charles began to appear regularly with the top jazz groups of the day. In the early 1950s he began leading his own groups—composing, producing, and recording dozens of original works such as “No More Nights,” “Blues Become Elektra,” and “Word from Bird.” More recently, Charles, a former Greenporter who later lived in Riverhead, was known for his love of the sea; as Captain Ted Charles, he owned and operated the skipjack Pilgrim out of Greenport Harbor. Charles died in 2012, just three days after his 84th birthday.