About me by Audrey
Charlie is a great composer. Not many people have heard the music he has
written, because Charlie is not like the typical out front type musician
people in general respond to. He is quiet, sensitive and shy, not the
traits one needs to go out and get jobs, meet people and sell your work.
When we were first married there were many clubs, bars and dance halls in
the Boston area. Other musicians hired Charlie because he was a very good
piano player and was easy to get along with. Charlie could have, and often
did work seven days a week, afternoons, evenings and in after hour clubs.
Before and after Berklee School of Music, prior to our marriage, Charlie
played solo jazz piano both at Storyville and the Stables, the original
Jazz Workshop where Herb Pomeroy's big band played Charlie's compositions.
Through the years Charlie has played with the best of the best. Several
summers were spent on Cape Cod where Charlie backed up featured soloists,
clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, guitarist Eddie Condon, trombonist Cutty
Cutshall and trumpet/cornetist Bobby Hackett. In the early days Charlie
owned a Hammond organ, bass notes were played with the foot pedals. That
organ went everywhere, Boston, Cape Cod and all the way to Las Vegas, It
was not easy to move around. After a disappointing stay in Las Vegas and a
painful trip back to Boston, Charlie and I tried to resume our Boston
life, albeit with some effort, as times were changing. Meanwhile Charlie
was hired by trombonist, Slide Hampton to be the house pianist at The
Picadilly Lounge in New Bedford Ma, where he supported visiting
luminaries, such as trombonists Bennie Green and Curtis Fuller, drummer
Charlie Persop, tenor saxophonist Junior Cook and others.
In between being hired by other musicians, Charlie had his own groups because
he wanted to play his own compositions. The culmination came in and around 1967.
In that period of time, Charlie and I bought a house, a momentous move, which
took us to Newburyport Massachusetts, 40 miles north of Boston. Charlie and
alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano, formed the
group called Osmosis. The other members added were drummers (yes two) Lou Peterson
and Bobby Clark, bassist Danny Comfort, guitarist Andy Steinborn and singer
Bobby Knox. This band was one of the early attempts at a style of music which
later was called jazz rock fusion. At its peak the band played, in Boston at
The Hatch Shell, The Boston Tea Party, opposite Miles Davis and his fusion band,
The Boston Garden, opposite The Ike and Tina Review, in New York City at the
Village Vanguard and the band cut an album on the RCA Victor label. Internal
restlessness contributed to the termination of Osmosis. A few months after their
record was released, they played their final gig at the Playboy Bunny Pageant
for the opening of the new Hugh Heffner Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. At the same
time, Charlie and two other members of Osmosis, Danny and Bobby and sometimes
Charlie Mariano, to make ends meet, formed Satori. Between Osmosis gigs, Satori
played weekends at the Grog in Newburyport. They also played at other well known
clubs along the North Shore of Boston including Lennie's on the Turnpike, Sandy's
in Beverly, and The Press Room in Portsmouth New Hampshire. This group drifted
apart and Charlie played with tenor saxophonist Jim Cameron and Drummer Nat
Mugavero. A new club opened on Plum Island called The Vanishing Schooner and
this was the hot spot until it burned down.
For a time Charlie served as the musical director for the Theater of
Newburyport, incorporating his original music. He also composed music for
a full-length film, Portraits, written and directed by John Kitchener,
shot in Newburyport and aired on cable TV.
Newburyport was a great place to live. The city is located on the
Merrimack River another great place to catch Striped Bass. As Newburyport
became THE place to live, taxes went up, factories were
converted to apartments, more laws were made, and it became harder to live
there. The boys were on their own so it came time for our next monumental
We moved to Waldoboro Maine, Jan 9th 1984. I'll never forget the drive up here. I
followed Charlie in the truck, piled high with boxes and our live stock,
ducks, and chickens and two cats and two dogs. It was dark and cold about
ten above, no heat, rapped in a blanket with the dog trying to sleep on my
lap. There was a street light on our driveway and it was a beacon leading
us to our new home. We settled in to our new environment.
Now Charlie had a place to build a music and recording studio. He had the
bottom of the barn and I had the top. Our friend Robert Levens and our son
Doug built a room to connect the house, an old Cape, to the barn.
In Waldoboro village the Waldo Theatre was being renovated. It was/is owned
by Kitty Fasette. Charlie Bechler and friends put on the opening event. I
remember all winter, Charlie learning, while, writing and sequencing music
into the computer. It got very complicated and all I can say is thank god
Charlie hired the best musicians that could read his music. Greg Badolato,
Jeff Stout, John Lockwood, Bob Gilardi, came up from Boston, to play along
with Maine's own, Dick Cash.
Charlie wanted to bring choice jazz sounds to the area ... with a rush of
energy Jazz Is was formed by local jazz fans, Bill Reser,
Charlotte and Michael Laing, Bill Howlett, and others. Once a month Jams
were held at various places in town and musicians young and old came to
them to play together. Jazz Is, put on four concerts at the
Waldo Theatre, which included musicians Tom Hoffman, Brad Terry, Dave
Demsey, singers Marguerite Jueneman and Laurel Masse and others.
Charlie played dinner music in Waldoboro at the Pine Cone Public House
upstairs restaurant until it closed, then played at Bill's Cafe and Book
Store which also closed. It seems, at least in Waldoboro dinner with live
music is becoming a memory of the past. Although Laura Cabot may continue,
with the opening of the upstairs, at the Pine Cone Cafe, this summer 1997.
Meanwhile Charlie continues to learn how to use the computer as a vehicle
for his music. In may of 95 Charlie put on a concert at the Firehouse
Center For The Arts in Newburyport called Impressions of a Family's
Journey Through Friendship. It was a multimedia event with Charlie playing
his own compositions on acoustical piano, accompanied by programed
instruments in the computer. The songs were synchronized with slides of
the Bechler family, Audrey, and sons Douglas and Christopher all creative
What remains is for Charlie to record his music. He has written hundreds
of songs. I have been lucky to have heard him compose them. They are hand
written on sheet music paper, hidden away in boxes, 'though some are
starting to be archived on data disks. I pray that he will accomplish
recording them, because he has written some of the most beautiful music I
have ever heard. I have not mentioned all the musicians Charlie has played
with or the friends we have met through the years. They have all
contributed to making our lives more interesting as we give and take and
learn from each other.
Music Variations bechler-arts.com