Carle Wayne Vickers was born in Portland, in 1947. Carle began piano lessons at the age of four with his grandmother, Alice Vickers (an accomplished pianist) who set the bar very high. She was so incredible she could sight read preludes and fugues from Bach’s Well Tempered Clavichord and transpose them at the same time. But Carle hated the piano.
When Carle was nine, the school system launched a program teaching wind instruments. Once a week a music teacher instructed volunteers from the 5th grade and Carle saw this as an opportunity to escape from piano lessons. Influenced by a neighbor who played the trumpet, Carle chose that instrument. His grandmother agreed but held his feet to the fire, making him play exercises over and over. Carle learned there was no escape from a diligent work ethic.
When Carle reached High School, he was a promising young musician. Enter Leander Kirksey, a professor of music at Florida A&M University. There he taught Julian “Cannonball” Adderley and Nat Adderley. Realizing the undeniable importance of the piano in music, Carle asked his grandmother to resume his study of the piano. Foregoing music scholarships, Carle went to Howard University to study Medicine. There, in Washington DC, he ventured out with his trumpet. Before long Carle was playing in the pit band at the Howard Theatre, part of the circuit which included the Uptown, Regal, and Apollo Theaters.
Choosing the “roar of the crowd and smell of the greasepaint” over blood and suffering, Carle left to go on the road with “Sam and Dave”, the popular Stax 60’s recording duo. About one year later, the horn section and the bass player left to form their own band. They moved to Greensboro North Carolina where a new keyboardist and arranger, James Davis lived with their new drummer, Dannie Richmond. Dannie had been a staple in the Charles Mingus group for many years. This would ultimately become the “Pop-Funk act LTD” of the 70’s and 80’s.
Following the success of LTD, Carle concentrated on writing/ arranging. However, Carle soon began to miss performing. He began doubling as a hobby to stay musically motivated. He would ask a flute, saxophone, bassoon player, etc., if he could borrow their instrument for the weekend. He purchased a Conn Soprano Sax in C and a flute from a pawn shop and taught himself the art of doubling.
Doubling has been Carle’s life ever since. His heroes were Benny Carter, Doc Cheatham, Ira Sullivan, and Claude Lakey, all of whom played Trumpet and Sax equally well. Doubling means playing more than one instrument in the same family of brass or woodwind, however, Carle plays both, including trumpet, flugelhorn, french horn, soprano, alto, and tenor saxes, C flute, G flute, bass flute, and piccolo.
At the University of California, Irvine, his degree program was jazz performance and composition. Though Carle was a sax major, he played trumpet in the jazz band and other ensembles. Carle studied with great instructors and players including James Newton(flute), Charlie Owens (saxophone), Hugh Regan (trumpet), Kai Akagi (theory and composition), Dr. Art Taylor ( jazz history ). He took master classes with Billy Childs, Yo Yo Ma, David Baker, Take 6, Hemiett Bluette and Jeff Hamilton to mention a few. He also juggled school and work for six years playing in the USA and Europe.
After attending UCI, Carle continued to study, teach, and perform different genres of music. He played major jazz, blues, and pop festivals in America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. A long awaited reunion with his group LTD has become a reality and Carle is excited and looking forward to those performances.
2000 to present – long awaited reunion with L.T.D. including recording and touring. Recording sessions with Phoenix Horns, Gospel Artist Elaine Norwood and Blues Pianist Floyd Dixon. World tours with Little Milton, The Phillip Walker Big Band, Bobby Womack, Solomon Burke, Bobby Womack, Solomon Burke and Tina Marie.
Carle Vickers plays the PHTF-2500 Phaeton Flugelhorn and Dakota Straight Tenor exclusively.