For the last 20 years Charlie has performed and recorded internationally with a variety of jazz, blues and world music ensembles, as well as two separate Cirque du Soleil installations.
Beginning with piano lessons at the age of 6, Charlie continued his music education at Auburn University before completing his Bachelors Degree in Music Media and Industry from the esteemed University of Miami in 1992. Charlie received his Masters Degree in Music from the University of New Orleans in 1998, where he was a jazz piano student of the legendary Ellis Marsalis.
Charlie moved to New Orleans in early 1996 to get more intimate with the city that gave birth to Jazz. He quickly embedded himself in the scene, forming a jazz organ trio called 5 O’Clock Charlie and began recording and gigging with established musicians and many emerging talents.
Charlie had the distinct honor of performing with jazz masters Jason and Delfeayo Marsalis, Nicolas Payton, Kermit Ruffins, Nancy King, Johnny Vidacovich and Ed Peterson, as well as the more funk influenced musicians like George Porter, Stanton Moore, Skerik and Charlie Hunter.
During this time Charlie was also an integral member of several prominent groups such as the New World Funk Ensemble, Quintology, Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe, Stanton Moore and Theresa Andersson.
Some of Charlie’s compositions can be heard on Stanton Moore’s instructional DVD entitled “Take it to the Street” (’05) as well as Moore’s CD entitled “Flyin’ the Koop” (‘02).
Always one to explore new horizons and opportunities, Charlie tried out for the Cirque du Soleil, got the gig, and embarked on a globe trotting adventure that would take him all around the world as a musician and music director for the Canadian avant-garde company.
After touring with Alegria, for 1,700 show in 12 different countries, Charlie rested for a while in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
During his hiatus from traveling, Dennard composed the music for the Brazilian acrobatic circus “Universo Casuo” produced and directed by his former Cirque du Soleil colleague Marcos Casuo (’08).
Upon the launch the new Cirque brand, “Totem,” Charlie was asked to return to his music director duty and another globe trotting chapter would follow for the next 5 years. During a North American stretch, Charlie did a memorable performance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Over the years, some of Charlie’s remarkable recording credits include the Birmingham Metropolitan Orchestra, Charles and Ian Neville (Neville Brothers), Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa), Cleve Eaton (Count Basie), Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers) and Steve Masakowski.
Now, back again in his adopted home of New Orleans, Charlie has returned to his roots, reforming his jazz organ trio and releasing 5 O’Clock Charlie, a 10 tune collection of mostly original rootsy, bluesy songs that are refreshing and simple and yet contain the energy of a musician still stretching out and exploring both new and familiar territory.