Charlie Porter (born in Boynton Beach, FL May 10, 1978) grew up in West Palm Beach. His grandmother Anne Wolf, who was a visual artist and avid jazz fan, urged Charlie to begin playing the trumpet at twelve years of age. He reluctantly took up the trumpet but wasn't inspired to study it seriously until his later meeting with Wynton Marsalis. Charlie was accepted into the Palm Beach County School of the Arts in 1990 in both visual and music arts (now Dreyfoos School of the Arts). His early mentors included Randy Sonntag, Wayne Miller and Sy Pryweller.
In 1991, Charlie's grandmother took Porter to see Wynton Marsalis backstage after a concert at the Carefree Theatre, which turned into an impromptu lesson. At this meeting, the first of many to come, Marsalis introduced Charlie to guitarist George Davis who became Charlie’s first jazz mentor. Davis taught Charlie the basics of jazz harmony and introduced him to Tony York, who later taught Charlie about composition and improvisation.
A budding composer at the age of fifteen, Charlie started his own group, the Charlie Porter Quintet, in 1993, which performed his original music at the Jazz Showcase, Sunfest, and many other local Palm Beach venues. His group was even joined by the famed Blue Note era jazz multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan for two concerts at the Jazz Showcase in 1994.
A star player in high-school, Charlie kept busy playing with the Palm Beach community College Big Band, the Florida Atlantic University Symphony and principle trumpet in the Palm Beach Youth Symphony. Charlie was featured as a soloist with the Palm Beach Pops Orchestra during his senior year of highschool. He was first chair in the Florida All-state Jazz band his junior and senior year of highschool, and was also a member of the GRAMMY Jazz Band, that met in Miami each week where he played with trumpeters Michael Rodriguez and Seneca Black, guitarist Mike Moreno and the and Strickland brothers (EJ and Marcus).
Charlie, inspired by reading of Wynton's own educational path, auditioned for and attended the Boston University Tanglewood Institute in the summer of 1995 before moving to New York City to attend The Juilliard School, where he then studied unofically with Wynton. There, from 1996-2000, he earned his Bachelor of Music degree under the private tutelage of trumpeters Raymond Mase and Mark Gould. In 1996, as a freshman, Charlie won first place in the competition, followed by performance of the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto with the Juilliard Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall in 1996.
During his studies at The Juilliard School, Charlie began playing professionally in New York City. As a capable jazz and classical musician, Porter's playing caught the ears of conductor Kristjan Jarvi, who invited him to join the Absolute Ensemble. With this group, Porter would go on to tour the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand and record nine albums with the ensemble (including Absolution, nominated for a Grammy Award in 2000). Following his graduation in 2000 from Juilliard, Charlie was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study abroad at the Regional Paris Conservatory with trumpeter Guy Touvron. After his return to the United States, Porter freelanced from 2001-2012 in New York City, where he performed with orchestras, jazz groups and played on Broadway shows.
While in New York, Charlie formed a jazz quartet that played reguarly in town and abroad that has included members Adam Birnbaum, Quincy Davis, Scott Ritchie, Joseph Lepore and Jon Wikan. Charlie also performed and recorded with other notable players such as Jeb Patton, William Delisfort, Arun Luthra, David Wong, Ivan Taylor, Jonathan Blake, Mike Moreno, Joe Saylor, Dan Kaufman, Pete Van Nostrand, Majid Khaliq, Dion Tucker, Danny Kirkhum, Pete Van Nostrand, McClenty Hunter, Corcoran Holt, Ingrid Jensen, Andre Hayward, Jonny McCaslin, Paquito D’Rivera, Eric Lewis, Kenny Drew Jr., and Joe Zawinul as well as larger jazz groups including the Björkestra, Gotham Jazz Orchestra, Charli Persip Big Band, Mike Longo Big Band, and Russ Spiegel Jazz Orchestra. His quartet was chosen twice by Jazz at Lincoln Center to tour abroad in the Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program in 2007/2010 and was invited, yet again, to participate in an "all-star" group in 2013 with Eli Yamin, Ari Roland, and Alvin Atkinson Jr.. In 2011, his quartet was also chosen by Carnegie Hall in 2011 to perform for New York City’s underserved community in their "Musical Connections" program. As a jazz composer, Charlie was awarded a New Works Commisioning Grant in 2005 by Chamber Music America and The Dorris Duke Charitble Foundation, which he used to write and premiere his "Buddy Bolden Suite" at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Charlie also worked extensively as a classical musician, performing with chamber groups and orchestras, including the American Composers Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Ossia Symphony, Garden State Philharmonic, MidAmerica Orchestra, Amato Opera, DiCapo Opera, American Lyric Theater, Argento Chamber Ensemble, the Russian Chamber Orchestra. He was also a member of the Dallas Brass during their 2009/2010 toruing season. As a member of Absolute Ensemble, Charlie performed and recorded with many notable musicians, including classical soloist Simone Dinnerstein as well as collaborations with Goran Bregovic, Marcel Khalife, and former members of Frank Zappa's band. He was also a regular in the Broadway show The Apple Tree, starring Kristin Chenoweth, 2006-2007. During this time, Porter was also earning his Master of Music degree in jazz from Manhattan School of Music, where he studied privately with Laurie Frink, Cecil Bridgewater, and Gary Dial.
Nearing the end of 2012, Porter relocated to the west coast, first to Eugene, Oregon and eventually into Portland. Within the next year Chuck Israels invited Charlie to join his group, the Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra and Alan Jones also invited Porter to join his sextet. Charlie recorded and performed extensively with the groups. Since relocating, he has also performed and recorded with notable jazz performers Jimmy Greene, George Colligan, Mel Brown, Jay Thomas, Aaron Diehl, Dan Faenhle, and Miles Black. He has since also collaborated with world-music great, Kim Duk-soo, the British indie pop band Bastille, classical violin super-star Sarah Chang and opera super-star Joyce DiDonato (a collaboration that earned him a Grammy Award in 2020 for the album Songplay).
Charlie Porter released his debut album, Charlie Porter, in 2018 followed by ahis second album Immigration Nation in 2019 (Origin Records), guarnering him 4 and 4 1/2 star reviews in DownBeat, All About Jazz, Jazziz, and many other piblications. As an educator, Charlie currently teaches jazz trumpet at Portland State University. He also teaches through his more than 100 educational videos on his YouTube channel, with over 40K subscribers.