Charlie McCarthy

Area(s) of Expertise

Charlie McCarthy is a saxophonist who has played and recorded with many of the greats in jazz including Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Henderson, Sarah Vaughan, Bobbie Hutcherson, George Shearing, Madeline Eastman, Radcliffe (the Cal Tjader Alumni Band), Frank Sinatra, Nancy Wilson, Bruce Forman, Lena Horne, and Joe Williams. Charlie graduated from San Francisco State College, where he was a member of a quintet named as the best in the Intercollegiate Music Festival. While serving in the Air Force Band in Germany, he won a scholarship to Berklee School of Music in Boston; while at Berkelee, Charlie studied composition, arranging, and saxophone with Andy McGhee and Joe Viola. Charlie then did stints on the road with Grease, The Beach Boys, and Van Morrison before landing a gig with Lena Horne. “Working in a jazz quintet behind Lena was one of my best experiences,” says Charlie. He then settled in San Francisco, working Broadway shows and all manner of jazz gigs, trios, quartets, quintets, big bands, guitar/flute duos, salsa bands, The Bandidos (Al Molina’s Latin Bebop Band), Latin Jazz Fusion with Canoneo, and Mark Levine’s Nonet with Woody Shaw, just to name a few. Charlie recorded for a PBS special as part of a jazz quintet with Rosemary Clooney, performed Ellington’s Black, Brown and Beige Suite with the Louie Bellson Orchestra, and worked with Joe Lovano as part of his new Octet as well as with James Moody at the College of San Mateo Jazz Festival. Charlie may be seen playing with Swing Fever and Salsa 2008, soloing on jazz tenor with the Louie Bellson Orchestra, and working with the San Francisco Symphony Pops or with his own Jazz Quartet. Charlie has taught privately and as the Woodwind Professor at San Francisco City College, where he continues. He has also coached sax sections as well as teaching privately at Stanford, Sonoma State, and College of San Mateo.