photo by Reese Moore
A native of Awendaw, SC, Charlton Singleton began his musical studies at the age of three on the piano. He would then go on to study the organ, violin, cello, and the trumpet throughout elementary, middle and high school. In 1994, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from South Carolina State University. Since that time, he has taught music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as being an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston. In 2008 he co-founded and became the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra; an 18 piece jazz ensemble of some of the finest professional musicians in the Southeast and the resident big band in Charleston, SC. Mr. Singleton is also the organist and choir director at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Charleston, SC. In November of 2016 he was named the inaugural Artist in Residence at the recently renovated Gaillard Center in downtown Charleston. He remained in this position until July 2019; at that point he was named Artist in Residence Emeritus. In this position he continues to lead the Summer Youth Jazz Orchestra Camp as well as lead the “Jazz Through the Ages” assembly, which attracts a capacity crowd of students at the Gaillard Center.
As a performer, Charlton leads his own ensembles that vary in size and style. He has performed in France, Great Britain, Scotland, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands, as well as many great cities throughout the United States. He is a founding member of a new ensemble called Ranky Tanky. The group is a quintet that interprets the sounds of Gullah from the Southeast Coast of the United States. In 2018 Ranky Tanky reached the top of the Billboard, iTunes, and Amazon Contemporary Jazz charts with their self-titled debut recording. In 2019 they accomplished the same feat with the release of their sophomore effort, “Good Time”, which was recently nominated for a Grammy Award.
In addition to performing, he is in demand as a speaker, clinician, composer, and arranger. He has also shared the stage with and/or worked with some of most talented entertainers in the world, including Bobby McFerrin, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Houston Person, Darius Rucker, Fred Wesley, and Cyrus Chestnut to name a few. Outside of music and entertainment, he and his wife, MaryJo, are the proud parents of Shalamar and D’Marcus, as well as their pets…Sassy, Jango, Mojo, Kota Bear, Pumpkin, and Ginger.
Playing upon natural rhythm and a lifelong passion for music, Charleston Jazz Orchestra artistic director Charlton Singleton has upped the tempo of both modern and traditional jazz in the Lowcountry … Read More
Show me someone who says that there isn’t any good live music in Charleston, and I will show you someone who just isn’t looking hard enough. Last weekend, the music options were wide open. One could have taken in the Charleston Symphony… Read more
Charlton Singleton’s love affair with music has lasted, well, a lifetime. The sheet notes, please: Age 3, he would watch his brother and sister taking piano lessons, picking out notes to play. He studied organ and violin, excelling at piano… Read More
To say Charlton Singleton is a musician is basically the same as saying that an alligator is a reptile or that the sea is salty. I truly believe that if one were to look at Singleton’s DNA under a microscope, one would see actual musical notes… Read More
I had the time of my life on Saturday. A big band I founded and produce had a rehearsal for a gig this Saturday (April 4) and despite fatigue, high pollen levels and a busy week coming up, I took Saturday morning to be with the Charleston Jazz… Read More
“To say Charlton Singleton is a musician is basically the same as saying that an alligator is a reptile or that the sea is salty. I truly believe that if one were to look at Singleton’s DNA under a microscope, one would see actual musical notes connecting the strands together. ”
Devin Grant – The Post and Courier
“Charlton is a talented trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader cut from the same cloth as Dizzy Gillespie, Thad Jones, Slide Hampton, and Frank Foster.”
Jimmy Heath (jazz icon, saxophonist, composer, arranger) – Charleston Magazine
“Just watching him conduct and play piano and trumpet draws you in and captivates you. He has the ability to turn a non-jazz person into an enthusiast in a single concert.”
Randi Weinstein (CJO Patron) – Charleston Magazine
“Singleton’s mature performance reaches new peaks. His technique and range are those of a thoughtful musician.”
T. Ballard Lesemann – Charleston City Paper
“He is an amazing player, but his composition skills are incredible.”
Cyrus Chestnut (jazz pianist) – The Post and Courier