British musician, trumpeter/flugelhorn player Charlotte Keeffe’s passion for free improvisation, jazz and experimental music-making sees her performing regularly as a soloist and leading a variety of different ensembles, including her own Quartet.
(The) Charlotte Keeffe Quartet (CKQ) performed a sellout performance at Lancaster Jazz Festival in 2019 and their live recording from Jazz in the Round has been featured on radio shows around the world. Her Quartet is Ashley John Long (Paul Dunmall collaborator) on double bass, Ben Handysides on drums, Moss Freed (Let Spin) on guitar and herself on trumpet and flugelhorn; they explore merging together Charlotte’s more composed music with freely improvising.
Fresh from playing London’s Café OTO, Newcastle, Birmingham, Sheffield and the London Jazz Festival; CKQ are delighted to be continuing their UK tour in 2022, celebrating the release of Charlotte’s debut album, Right Here, Right Now, which features a selection of her improvised works for solo, duo, quartet and (the) London Improvisers Orchestra, it’s out now on the Discus Music record label.
Charlotte is involved in several Discus Music projects as a composer and performer, including; Hi Res Heart, French singer Carla Diratz’s The Scale, Julie Tippetts’ upcoming release, Illusion, and Anthropology Band with Jazz FM's Gold Award winner Orphy Robinson MBE, Chris Sharkey, Pat Thomas, Anton Hunter and Martin Archer.
Throughout lockdown, Charlotte recorded music for several new projects, including a duo with renowned improvising vocalist and trumpeter, Phil Minton. She became part of Matt Clark's MC4 and recorded her playing on Music In Unusual Spaces by the canal at Camden Lock, London. She's also part of an exciting new trio with Chris Sharkey and Paul Hession - in March 2022 their trio album will be released, Paint My World. Coming out of lockdown, Charlotte and pianist Matthew Bourne ignited a new duo project, which premiered (and kicked-off) Daylight Music's first concert since lockdown. Another new duo project includes recording and performing with Swiss clarinettist and electronic musician, Christian Müller. Charlotte is also part of Emily Suzanne Shapiro's Lonely Impulse Collective, which sees Charlotte self-releasing improvised pieces of music every ten days, each piece is only available for 24hrs.
Charlotte is inspired by the way painters explore colours and shapes. She refers to her trumpet and flugelhorn as her ‘sound brushes’. Her music has been featured on Jazz FM, BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 6 where she's been described as a 'prolific', 'dynamic' and 'excellent improviser!' by the likes of Corey Mwamba, Stuart Maconie and Jez Nelson.
In February 2022 she was invited to perform a solo set as part of Biel/Bienne's Ear We Are International Improvised Music Festival in Switzerland, sharing the stage with the likes of USA’s Moor Mother and Irreversible Entanglements. Charlotte was the only woman from the UK performing at Ear We Are.
She proudly plays in the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO), she also leads LIO conductions and is a board member assisting the preparations for each monthly LIO concert. Charlotte can also be seen and heard as part of Moss Freed’s Union Division, Calum Gourlay’s Big Band and Olivia Murphy’s Jazz Orchestra. She performs regularly with Alex Ward, Otto Willberg and Andrew Lisle, in Andrew’s trio and in Alex’s Item 4 and 10. She is also part of Birmingham-based Andrew Woodhead’s Pendulums, and plays alongside jazz stalwart Annie Whitehead in Ben Higham’s The Brass Monkeys and with jazz stars Jay Phelps and Rosie Turton in Dan Samsa’s Contours. Alya Al-Sultani’s upcoming opera, Two Sisters, sees Charlotte playing alongside the likes of Alice Zawadzki, Robert Mitchell and Dave Kane. She plays the role of Musician in Goblin Theatre’s production for children, The Legend of the Jazz Penguin.
She is part of the Mopomoso (the UK’s longest running concert series dedicated to freely improvised music) creative team, programming its concert series at The Vortex, London, and the online show, Mopomoso TV, which launched in June 2020. She was the Assistant Musical Director of the London Gay Big Band in 2019, before focusing more on her own music making.
Throughout spring 2022, Charlotte is thrilled to be part of a new concert series called Stranger Fruit alongside musicians Sharron McLeod, RENU and Roella Oloro. Stranger Fruit celebrates the legacies of jazz and blues women. Charlotte led a concert dedicated to Tiny Davis, who was described as the ‘hottest female trumpeter in the universe’.
Charlotte is a jazz and improvised music trumpet professor at the London Performing Academy of Music. She is also part of the Parliamentary Award Winning, Women in Jazz Media team, working alongside folks to create gender and diversity equality within the music/jazz industry.
Her further credits include performing at the World Economic Forum to world leaders and celebrities, such as Sir David Attenborough as part of Marin Alsop’s Taki Concordia Orchestra. She has also accompanied the likes of Laura Mvula, Charlotte Church, Kate Nash and Liane Carroll as part of the Wilderness (Festival) Orchestra.
‘...Keeffe shows notable strength of character as she runs the sonic and emotional gamut.’
- Kevin Le Gendre, JAZZWISE
‘…Charlotte Keeffe’s blood-red, rasping flugelhorn and trumpet blew breathy cadences and messages as if her lungs were burning with an electricity all of her own.’
- Chris Searle, MORNING STAR
‘…characterful beautiful-toned flugelhorn…’
- Sebastian Scotney, LONDONJAZZNEWS
‘Fresh on the scene, trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe is a whirlwind of extended techniques and tactile puzzles, removing the mouthpiece to elicit a windy howl, using her left hand as a mute in the bell of the horn and revelling in restless possibilities.’
- Daniel Spicer, JAZZWISE
‘Keeffe performs with great assurance and inventiveness and her playing in this essentially improvised context is a revelation.’
- Ian Mann, THE JAZZ MANN
‘So many artists have attempted to tackle Electric Miles™ but Archer and Keeffe go one better by inhabiting their music with the very spirit of ruthless experimentation that defined the era.’