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Charles Earland (24 May 1941 – 11 December 1999[1] ) was an American jazz composer, organist, and saxophonist in the soul jazz idiom.



Earland was born in Philadelphia, and learned to play the saxophone in high school.[1] He played tenor with Jimmy McGriff at the age of seventeen, and in 1960 started his first group. He started playing the organ after playing with Pat Martino, and joined Lou Donaldson's band from 1968 to 1969.[1]

The group that he led from 1970, including Grover Washington, Jr., was successful, and he eventually started playing soprano saxophone and synthesizer. His hard, simmering grooves earned him the nickname, 'The Mighty Burner'.

In 1978 Earland hit the disco/club scene with a track recorded on Mercury Records called "Let the Music Play", written by Randy Muller from Brass Construction. The record was in the U.S. charts for 5 weeks and reached number 46 in the UK Singles Chart.[2 ] With Earland's playing on synthesizer, the track also has an uncredited female vocalist.

From 1988 until his death Earland traveled extensively. One of the many highlights of his latter years was playing at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1994. Among the musicians that performed with him at the Berlin Jazz Festival, was the Alabama born, Chicago resident, Zimbabu Hamilton.[3] on the drums.

Earland continued to perform throughout the U.S. and abroad until his death. He died in Kansas City, Missouri of heart failure at the age of fifty-eight.[1]


  • Black Power (Rare Bird)
  • Boss Organ (Choice)
  • Soul Crib (Choice 1969)
  • Black Talk! (Original Jazz 1969)
  • Charles Earland (live album) (Trip 1969)
  • Black Drops (Prestige 1970)
  • Living Black! (Prestige 1970)
  • Live at the Lighthouse (Prestige 1972)
  • Charles 3 (Prestige 1972)
  • Intensity (Prestige 1972)
  • Introducing - Live (Giant Step)
  • Freakin' Off (Big Chance)
  • The Dynamite Brothers (Prestige 1973)
  • Leaving This Planet (Prestige 1973)
  • Kharma (Prestige 1974)
  • Odyssey (Mercury 1975)
  • The Great Pyramid (Mercury 1976)
  • Mama Roots (Muse 1977)
  • Smokin' (Muse 1977)
  • Revelation (Mercury 1977)
  • Pleasant Afternoon (Muse 1978)
  • Infant Eyes (Muse 1978)
  • Perceptions (Mercury 1978)
  • Coming to You Live (Columbia 1980)
  • Burners (Prestige 1981)
  • In the Pocket (Muse 1982)
  • Earland's Jam (CBS 1982)
  • Street Themes (CBS 1983)
  • Front Burner (Milestone 1988)
  • Third Degree Burn (Milestone 1989)
  • Whip Appeal (Muse 1990)
  • Unforgettable (Muse 1991)
  • I Ain't Jivin', I'm Jammin' (Muse 1992)
  • Ready 'n' Able (Muse 1995)
  • Blowing the Blues Away (High Note 1997)
  • Jazz Organ Summit (Cannonball 1998)
  • Slammin' & Jammin' (Savant 1998)
  • Live (Cannonball 1999)
  • Cookin' with the Mighty Burner (High Note 1999)
  • The Almighty Burner (32 Jazz 2000)
  • Stomp! (High Note 2000)


  1. ^ a b c d "Biography by Richard S. Ginell". Retrieved 8 January 2009.  
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 176. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  
  3. ^

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