Charles Tyler (musician)

Charles Tyler
Birth name Charles Lacy Tyler
Born (1941-07-20)July 20, 1941
Cadiz, Kentucky, U.S.
Died June 27, 1992(1992-06-27) (aged 50)
Toulon, France
Genres Jazz, free jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Baritone sax, alto sax
Labels ESP-Disk, Nessa, Adelphi, Sonet, Storyville, Bleu Regard, Silkheart
Associated acts Albert Ayler, Sun Ra

Charles Lacy Tyler (July 20, 1941 – June 27, 1992) was an American jazz baritone saxophonist. He also played alto saxophone and clarinet.


Tyler was born in Cadiz, Kentucky, and spent his childhood years in Indianapolis. He played piano as a child and clarinet at 7, before switching to alto in his early teens, and finally baritone saxophone. During the summers, he visited Chicago, New York City and Cleveland, Ohio, where he met the young tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler at age 14. After sering in the army from 1957–1959, Tyler relocated to Cleveland in 1960 and began playing with Ayler, conmuting between New York and Cleveland.[1] During that period played with Ornette Coleman and Sunny Murray.[2]

In 1965 Tyler recorded Bells and Spirits Rejoice with Alyer's group.[3] He recorded his first album as leader the following year for ESP-Disk. He returned to Indianapolis to study with David Baker at Indiana University between 1967 and 1968, recording a second album for ESP, Eastern Man Alone.[4] In 1968, he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley to study and teach. In Los Angeles, he worked with Arthur Blythe, Bobby Bradford, and David Murray.[3]

He moved back to New York in 1974, leading his own groups with Blythe, trumpeter Earl Cross, drummer Steve Reid and others, recording the album Voyage from Jericho on Tyler's own Akba label.[1] In 1975, Tyler enrolled at Columbia University and made an extensive tour of Scandinavia, releasing his second Akba album Live in Europe. In 1976, he performed the piece "Saga of the Outlaws" at Sam Rivers's Studio Rivbea, released two years later on Nessa Records.[2] During that period he played as a sideman or co-leader with Steve Reid, Cecil Taylor and Billy Bang.[5]

In 1982, during a European tour with Sun Ra's Orchestra, he relocated to Denmark, and in 1985 he moved to France, recording with other expatriates like Khan Jamal in Copenhagen and Steve Lacy in Paris.[5]

Tyler died in Toulon, France of heart failure in June 1992.


As leader

As sideman

With Albert Ayler

With Billy Bang

With Wilber Morris

With Hal Russell

With Khan Jamal

With Steve Lacy


  1. 1 2 Lest We Forget: Charles Tyler (1941–1992) by Clifford Allen
  2. 1 2 Saga of the Outlaws Original Liner Notes by Michael Cuscuna
  3. 1 2 Allmusic Biography
  4. Wilmer, Val (1977). As Serious As Your Life. Quartet. p. 282. ISBN 0-7043-3164-0.
  5. 1 2 Live at Sweet Basil Original Liner Notes
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