started playing in the Florida State University Summer Band Camp Program
before graduating from Bunnell High School, then went on to attend FSU from
1954 to 1959. While at FSU, he
performed in the Circus Band, the Marching Chiefs, the Symphonic Band, and
the Symphonic Orchestra.
attending FSU, he went west to Las Vegas to play professionally. He played with many of the big
names, including Count Basie, Vic Damone, Sammy Davis, Jr., John Denver,
Jimmy Dorsey, Ella Fitzgerald, Ralph Flanagan, Eydie Gorme, Robert Goulet,
Harry James, Steve Lawrence, Dean Martin, Wayne Newton, and Jerry Spivak,
and even did a stint with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
name of all came calling in 1975, when Frank Sinatra offered him the lead
trumpet chair in his orchestra and his small touring band. Charles would stay with him until
1983, when Frank decided to stop touring. That same year, Frank gave his
blessing to Charles for an album called What’s
New?, an instrumental album of popular Sinatra tunes: Frank even went so far as to conduct
the orchestra, the last recording on which he did so.
on which Charles appears include the Ella Fitzgerald-Cole Porter
collaboration, Dream Dancing, The Pablo Sampler, and the Sinatra
boxed sets, Sinatra: Vegas and Trilogy.
May 2006, Charles passed away.
He had been suffering from depression and diabetes.
something of a small shrine assembled in his honour at the FSU Warren D.
Allen Library, which houses some of his memorabilia, musical scores, and
one of his beloved trumpets.