A most underrated trumpeter, Charles Sullivan has excellent technique, fine tone, a bright, shimmering sound, and is effective in hard bop, free, big band, or bebop contexts. He's simply not gotten the credit he deserves, though he also doesn't have a large legacy of recordings to tout. Sullivan studied at the Manhattan School of Music in the '60s, and worked for off-Broadway productions. He played with Lionel Hampton and Roy Haynes' Hip Ensemble in the late '60s, then toured briefly as Count Basie's lead trumpeter in 1970 and with Lonnie Liston Smith in 1971. He played with Sy Oliver in 1972, and Norman Connors in 1973. Sullivan toured Europe and recorded with Abdullah Ibrahim in 1973 as well, then worked and recorded with Sonny Fortune, Carlos Garnett, Bennie Maupin, Ricky Ford, Eddie Jefferson, and Woody Shaw, as well as cutting his own records, through the remainder of the '70s. Despite all that activity, Sullivan couldn't expand his audience nor gain more recognition. He began heading the band Black Legacy in the late '70s and continued into the '80s. Sullivan currently has no sessions available on CD, but can be heard on reissues by Shaw, Jefferson, Maupin, Fortune, and others.
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