The Charles Unger Experience

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San Francisco Magazine, February 2019

Bio - Charles Unger - Award Winning Jazz Legend, Saxophonist, Bandleader, Composer and Artist


A major force in the music scene of the San Francisco Bay area for the last 40 years, saxophonist Charles Unger is a musical institution. He is known for his exuberant style and talent, and for a stage show that is unforgettable.  A regular performer at various San Francisco clubs, Charles is an innovator in the genres of Jazz, R&B, Soul and World Beat. 


In the February 2019 issue of the San Francisco Magazine, Charles is featured on the cover and in the story on local musicians – "Our local music heroes." In 2016, he received Silver Medals from the Global Music Award for Swedish Sunset in three categories:  jazz, band and album as well as for Mr. 2 AM in three categories: contemporary jazz, band and album.


Charles, who plays alto, tenor and soprano saxophones, was deeply influenced by the seminal works of artists such as Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Grover Washington, Kenny Garrett and Lester Young, but has also drawn on a lifetime of experience playing with top level musicians the world over. Charles brings an undeniable sense of joy to his performances, with a smile that welcomes even the most recalcitrant listeners to the party, then proceeds to open up avenues of music that are enjoyable for the uninitiated and the aficionado alike.


In September 2014, Charles released his latest album ”Around the World – Wonderlust,” which is inspired by musicians he played with and trips abroad.  It was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign in the fall of 2013. His previous album, "Mr. 2 AM," was released in May 2011. 

Currently, Charles Unger Experience performs every Saturday evening at Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio.  Previously, he played at Les Joulins Jazz Bistro for 20 years.  Other Bay Area venues include the Press Club, Fenix, Intercontinental Hotel San Francisco, Rasselas, Yoshi’s San Francisco, Sheba Lounge, Lushlife Gallery and 57th Street Gallery in Oakland and the Fillmore Jazz Festival.  


During the last five summers, Charles Unger Experience has performed in Sweden at the Jazz House at the Malmö Festival, at the Gothenburg Cultural Festival, in Båstad, Skanör, Skäret, Arild, Mölle and at the Kristianstad/Åhus Jazz Festival.  He has also performed with the Swedish group Wavemakers in the musical ”A Dream of a Better Life” at multiple locations. During the summer of 2011, Charles toured Europe for the first time since 2005, and performed in Sweden, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris and in the South of France.