Charles Chapman Biography


In addition to his 31 years as a well respected professor at the world renowned Berklee College of Music, Charles’ impressive career has spanned more than four decades of teaching, performing, writing and promoting the guitar and music education.

A versatile jazz guitarist with extensive performing and recording experience. Charles has performed on both coasts of the U.S.A., and has gained international recognition having performed at such notable events as the D'jango Festival in France, and the Kirkmichael International Guitar Festival in Scotland. He has appeared in concert with such fellow luminaries as Martin Taylor, Kenny Burrell, Joe Negro, Jimmy Bruno, Frank Vignola, John Pisano, Carol Kay and Jerry Jemmott.

As a recording artist, Charles performed four tunes on Mel Bay’s compilation CD ‘Anthology of Jazz Guitars Solos’; all nine solos on the CD that accompanies the text ‘Nine Solo Pieces by George Van Eps’ (Mel Bay Pub); two tunes on the ‘Just Jazz Guitar-Volume One’, produced by Just Jazz Guitar Magazine; all three CD’s included with ‘Modern for Method Guitar Series’ by William G. Leavitt-Berklee Press Publication.

Charles Has Nine Published Texts:

Drop -2 Concepts for Guitar - Mel Bay Publications.

Making The Changes - Mel Bay Publications (includes CD).

Finger Gymnastics - Mel Bay Publications (includes CD).

Bass Line Basics for Guitar - Mel Bay Publications

(includes CD).

Music Essentials - Mel Bay Publications.

Interviews With The Jazz Greats...and More - Mel Bay Publications.

Masters of Jazz Guitar - Hal Leonard Publications.

Jazz Guitar Standards - Mel Bay Publications.

Rhythm Guitar Tutor - Mel Bay Publications.

In addition to Charles’ other writing accomplishments, as a Music Journalist he has interviewed many of the most prominent guitarists in the field. He was a frequent contributor to Guitar Player Magazine, Guitar Shop, Acoustic Guitar, Frontline, 20th Century Guitar, Just Jazz Guitar and the very prestigious Canadian publication Nuvo Magazine. Charles has over 400 published articles and reviews.

Through the years Charles has received considerable recognition for his many talents. In 1998 he was named as one of the world’s great guitar players and teachers in Miller Freeman’s book Guitar Sessions, Licks & Lessons From The World’s Greatest Guitar Players and Teachers. In 1999 he received the Jim Evans Guitar Players of the Year Award, presented by Evans Custom Guitar Amps.

In 2000 Mel Bay Publications named Charles as one of the world’s finest jazz guitarists in Mel Bay Presents the 2000 Jazz Guitar. The year 2004 saw Charles honored with a number of awards, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kirkmichael International Guitar Festival, Kirkmichael, Scotland for his outstanding contribution to the guitar and music education. A Meritorious Citation presented by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts House of Representatives in honor of his Lifetime Achievement Award and his outstanding contribution to music education. A Meritorious Citation presented by the State of Maine Senate and House of Representatives for his distinguished career. And the 2004 Buddy System Award presented by The General Association of Guitar Enthusiasts, Berklee College of Music, for his dedication as a clinician and performer in the Buddy System Recital Series.


Charles Chapman is an old-school jazz player who’s right at home with the timeless standards of yesterday, something amply proved on his solos album, In Black & White. His chord comping is superb, and the solos are low-key, but downright tasty. Overall, an elegant, understated jazzer.

Pete Prown - Editor-in chief, Guitar Shop Magazine

Charles Chapman is a mature guitarist with roots deeply planted in the traditional jazz style. His debut release In Black & White showcases his unique abilities as a soloist and interpreter of jazz standards in the guitar/bass duo that even the most seasoned players find challenging. His tasteful chord solos and accompaniments display a grasp of fret board harmony which is rarely found among todays guitar slingers. An impressive first outing.

Mark Small - Editor-in-chief, Berklee today Magazine.

I’ve watched Charles Chapman skillfully mold young guitarists at Berklee. In classes and private lessons, he draws the best from his students, inspiring and challenging them. Part therapist, part coach, Charles guides them with humor and wisdom. Players leave his watch transformed.

Andy Ellis - Lessons Editor - Guitar Player Magazine.

Charles has extraordinary insight into both playing and teaching and has established himself as a vital force in the ongoing evolution of the jazz guitar. His talent, enthusiasm and dedication certainly qualify him as “Most Valuable Player”!

Bob Benedetto – World renowned luthier.

To add to what Bob said, in addition to being a great guitarist, Charles is a well respected and prolific writer who really goes out of his way to accommodate those he’s writing about. On top of that he has a terrific sense of humor.

Cindy Benedetto - “First Lady of Archtop Guitar”

If teachers were all like Charles Chapman I would have a different opinion of jazz education.

Frank Vignola - Concord recording artist.

Charles is a great teacher, fine musician and a dear person.

Carole Kaye - Legendary bassist, author and recording artist.

-Donna Chapman

Charles has also had two releases under his own name,

‘In Black and White’ and ‘Come Sunset.’

For more information, visit Charlies myspace page at:

“Walk Don’t Run” performed by, from right to left on the stage Jimmy Bruno, John Pisano, Jack Wilkins Randy Johnston and Charles Chapman

from the DVD:

The Benedetto Players and The Guild Jazzmasters In Concert

“What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life”

chord solo arangement by Charles Chapman from the album Come Sunset