charles m. owens

* 1939/05/04, phoenix, az, usa

Picture on the right by Dennis Reiter.


from The San Diego Union Tribune
Nov 12, 2017
"Sax great Charles Owens counts Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Marvin Gaye among past collaborators"
by George Varga

The year was 1972 and Charles Owens’ reputation as one of the most gifted and versatile young musicians in Los Angeles was growing by the day.

At the time, Owens — who’d already earned attention for his sterling work with drum legend Buddy Rich and Latin-jazz great Mongo Santamaria — was a member of an all-star Anglo-American band led by English blues king John Mayall.

But that didn’t stop former San Diego music iconoclast Frank Zappa from seeking to lure fellow former San Diegan Owens away from Mayall.

“I could have stayed with Mayall and made ‘Grand Theft Auto’ dough!” recalled Owens, who appears in the Oscar-winning film “La La Land” and teaches a weekly jazz performance class at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music.

“But I chose Frank, because his music was much more challenging. We were playing all types of time signatures and it was one of the best musical periods of my life.”

Owens, who grew up in San Diego and counted fellow saxophonist Arthur Blythe as one of his closest friends here, chuckled.

“I got that gig with Frank because he wanted a tenor sax player who also played oboe,” Owens said from his home in Los Angeles. “And I just happened to have studied oboe at SDSU and was playing it in Los Angeles.”

He was recommended to Zappa by yet another former San Diegan, jazz sax luminary Harold Land.



  1968 rich, buddy- mercy, mercy (arranger)   
  1971 bryant, bobby- swahili strut (sax (tenor))  
  1973 mayall, john- moving on (saxophone)   
  1973 humphrey, paul- america, wake up (reeds (multiple))   
  1975 smith, arthur & clay- smith & son (engineer)   
  1976 streisand, barbra- star is born)   
  1977 harris, eddie- how can you live like that (saxophone, sax (tenor))   
  1978 callier, terry- fire on ice (saxophone)   
  1978 alexandria, lorez- woman knows (flute, sax (soprano), sax)  
  1978 mitchell, grover- meet grover mitchell (sax (tenor))   
  1978 gaye, marvin- here my dear (sax (tenor))   
  1979 newton, james- mystery school (horn (english), oboe)   
  1979 charles owens- two quartets  
  1980 mitchell, grover- devil's waltz (reeds (multiple))   
  1981 knight, gladys- touch (woodwind)   
  1982 carter, john- dauwhe (clarinet, oboe, sax))   
  1983 digital big band bash- digital big band bash (clarinet, saxophone)   
  1986 sease, marvin- marvin sease (keyboards)   
  1987 ellington, mercer- digital duke (clarinet, clarinet (bass), sax)    
  chester thompson: a joyful noise
    (1991, cd, usa, blue moon / moo records r2 79341) - feat.charles owens, walt fowler, steve fowler, bruce fowler and george duke
     1991 sahm, doug- best of doug sahm (1968-1975) (guitar (steel))   
  1991 davis, miles- dingo (woodwind)  
  1992 howard, miki- femme fatale)  
  1993 lewis, jerry lee- all killer, no filler: the antholog (guitar (steel))  
  1993 cheatham, jeannie and j- blues & the boogie masters (sax (alto), sax)  
  1993 bradford, carmen- with respect (flute, saxophone)  
  1995 cheatham, jeannie and j- gud nuz bluz (clarinet (bass), sax)  
  1997 evans, adriana- adriana evans (flute, oboe)  
  1997 critic's picks, vol. 2- critic's picks, vol. 2 (clarinet, oboe, sax))  


frank zappa: wazoo
    (2007, 2cd, usa, vaulternative records)

  the clayton-hamilton jazz orchestra: the l.a. treasures project - live at alvas showroom
    (2014, cd, usa, ??) - feat. charles owens
claytonhamiltonjazz_latreasures.jpg (30068 bytes)
  kenny burrell & the los angeles jazz orchestra unlimited: unlimited 1, live at catalina's
    (2016, cd, usa, ??) - feat. charles owens
kennyburrellandthelajou_liveaatcatalinas.jpg (23566 bytes)
       smith, o.c.- love changes (saxophone))  
       charles owens- charles owens n.y. art ensemble (plays the...  



frank zappa  / musicians timeline



 c   d   e   f   g   h   i   j   k   l   m 
 n   o   p   q   r   s   t   u   v   w   x   y   z
soundtracks various artists