The Kennedy Center

Charles Covington Jr.



Biography

Charles Covington, Jr. is recognized as a virtuoso jazz pianist and jazz organist. A specialist in the styles of early piano greats James “Eubie” Blake, Art Tatum, and Errol Garner, Mr. Covington enjoys a high reputation among performers.

Mr. Covington incorporates the styles of jazz greats in his jazz organ performance. Mr. Tatum, Bud Powell, and John Coltrane were some of the few who each achieved the colossal feat of amending the aesthetic of jazz styles–Mr. Covington achieved the colossal feat of demonstrating that it was possible to master all of these styles and to blend these disparate elements into a coherent, codified style by imposing the mark of his own personality.

Completely self-taught and gifted with perfect pitch, Mr. Covington has performed concerts at the White House, the Kennedy Center, the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the Baltimore Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore. He has performed internationally in Europe and China and has made numerous TV and radio appearances. In 1984-85 he served as producer and resident artist for “Jazz in the Marketplace” concert series at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor where he performed with many well-known guest artists. He also served as artist in residence for the syndicated TV talk show The Tim and Daphne Show and was the house pianist for the TV show BET On Jazz. Mr. Covington also wrote the music for a segment on America’s Most Wanted and played the music for The Crash of 29. Mr. Covington was also featured on the cover of Expo magazine as Jazz musician of the year in 1983.

Mr. Covington’s three years with George Benson from 1968 to 1971 included national tours, an appearance on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, and yielded the recording The Shape of Things to Come. He can also be heard on numerous other recordings such as J.J. Johnson’s Betwixed and Between, Ethel Ennis’s The Ten Sides of Ethel and Ethel: Live at the Martland Inn, Gary Thomas’s Exile’s Gate, O’ Donel Levy’s Black Velvet, Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky, Windows, Dawn a New Day, Breeding of Mind, and Nathan Page’s Page 1, Page 2, and Nathan Page Plays For The Pretty People.

Mr. Covington served on the faculty at Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory of Music from 1979 until his retirement in 1999. Mr. Covington currently serves as a full time professor of music at Howard University in Washington, D.C. His biography was published in the sixth edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers 2000, the most respected publication in the nation recognizing and honoring the nation’s finest teachers.

The driving force behind Mr. Covington is his lovely and talented wife Becky Covington, who is also his business manager. They met in 1960 and have been together ever since. They have two daughters, Tracy and Benita.

Watch Past Performances

Video 8/19/2017: Charles Covington

Recognized as a virtuoso jazz pianist and organist, Charles Covington incorporates the styles of jazz greats while achieving the colossal feat of blending disparate elements into a coherent, codified style with Nasar Abadey on the drums and James King playing bass.

Video 8/13/2016: Charles Covington

Recognized as a virtuoso jazz pianist and jazz organist, Charles Covington incorporates the styles of jazz greats while achieving the colossal feat of blending disparate elements into a coherent, codified style.

Video 8/15/2015: Charles Covington Jazz Organ Trio

The celebrated jazz keyboardist returns to perform on the Hammond B-3 with his Jazz Organ Trio (Steve Abshire and Ken Kimery). Covington is a professor at Peabody Conservatory and has performed with legendary artists such as Herbie Hancock, the late Clark Terry and B.B. King, and others.

Video 8/16/2014: Charles Covington, Steve Abshire, and Ken Kimery

The trio offers a performance of jazz standards.

Video 8/18/2012: Charles Covington Jr.

The widely respected jazz pianist and professor at Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory has performed with such legendary artists as Clark Terry, Zoot Simms, Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, B.B. King, and Chuck Berry.

Charles Covington Jr