Taking It Blow by Blow
Sax player entertains for almost fifty years
It is early Sunday evening at the Sunshine Grille in Fort Myers. The air is filled with the rich smell of a wood- burning pizza oven, and golf and college basketball games appear on the TV screens over the bar. The TV sound is muted, replaced by the hum of happy conversations. Other than the bartender who is shaking martinis, the entrance of an elegant woman in silver sequins is the only movement. A few feet
IT HAS NEVER BEEN AN OPTION NOT TO PLAY.”
behind them, a man, dressed all in black, plugs a cord into an amplifier. He seems to be nervously energized. With a wiry frame, gentle eyes, and a graying beard, he wears a cap on his head that would have once been described as being “hip.” The man is local saxophone player Charlie Sherrill. As he steps onto the small stage, the bar talk hushes noticeably.
Tonight, as it has been for nearly five decades, it is Charlie Sherrill’s turn to entertain. In a few more minutes, a floating sweetness will emerge from his instruments. “I’ve been very fortunate to have had the life I’ve had,” says Sherrill, placing a saxophone, an electronic sax, and a flute onstage just before his Sunday set. “It has never been an option not to play.”
Sherrill has been performing in Florida since the 1970s. However, at age sixtytwo, he still retains his Virginian roots, using “cee- ment” to describe the bottom of an empty swimming pool where he first played professionally at age sixteen.
From Sherrill’s soul flows original, solo music that is so clean and engaging that it prompted Sunshine Grille owner Sandy Stilwell to contract Sherrill. “So many entertainers zone out,” Stilwell says. “Not Charlie; he truly has a love for the guests.”
His love for music and for his audience is evident in Sherrill’s simple performances. Fame and fortune may find some musicians, but for others like Sherrill, it seems enough to just enjoy what you do.
For more information about Charlie Sherrill, visit him online at charliesherrill. com.
IF YOU GO The Sunshine Grille Weekly entertainment, along with excellent food in a unique atmosphere. 239- 489- 2233, sunshinegrillefm. com