Is perhaps best known for his recordings of Charlie Parker’s alto sax parts on the soundtrack to Clint Eastwood’s movie Bird.
Charles was born in Joplin, Missouri where the great swing bands originated…Bird, Buster Smith, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Count Basie and others.
As a teenager in Detroit, Michigan, McPherson heard the sound of Charlie Parker and decided then and there to devote his life to the saxophone. A fecund music environment surrounded McPherson in Detroit where he mastered the alto sax, while studying with renown pianist Barry Harris. At age 19 he started playing professionally. He left Detroit for New York and performed with Charles Mingus for twelve years. His distinct sound was nurtured and recognized during this valuable 12-year association with Mingus. While performing with Mingus, McPherson frequently collaborated with Harris, a union that continues to the present.
McPherson has performed at concerts and festivals with his own orchestra and as special guest in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, South America and Africa. He has toured with jazz artists Billy Eckstine, Lionel Hampton, Nat Adderley and others.
He has recorded over 11 albums as guest artist with Charles Mingus, Art Farmer, Barry Harris, Lionel Hampton, Kenny Drew, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Sam Jones, Ted Harris, Bobby Jones and as a featured artist on the record labels “Prestige,” “Mainstream,” “Xanadu,” “Discovery,” and most recently “Arabesque,” for which he recorded “First Flight Out” and his latest album “Come Play With Me.”
He currently lives in San Diego and occasionally teaches a course at San Diego State University.