Dr. Charles Otwell

Dr. Charles Otwell

Co-Director JPIC 2019 & 2017, Philosopher & Jazz musician, Chair of Philosophy and Humanities at Orange Coast College


“I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later.”

Miles Davis, jazz trumpeter, (1926-1991)


One of the three co-chairs for the Jazz & Philosophy Intermodal Conference for 2017, Dr. Charles Otwell spent many years working as a professional musician (keyboards), touring ten years as musical director with Latin Jazz master conguero Poncho Sanchez, and on numerous recordings with Poncho, including many Otwell compositions and arrangements.   He has played professionally with Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Carlos Valdez, Dave Pike, Melissa Manchester, and Bobby Hatfield (of the Righteous Brothers).  

More recently, he received his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 2006 from the University of California at Irvine, working with major advisor, David W. Smith, on a dissertation defending an Existentialist model of human action against neo-Humean and neo-Kantian models.

Dr. Otwell has taught the history of jazz for over a decade at several Southern California colleges, as well as teaching philosophy at Rancho Santiago college, Long Beach City College, and Irvine Valley college.  Currently, he is chair of Philosophy at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA where he explores issues in the ontology of jazz with his collaborator Dr. David C. Ring.

Partially inspired by Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus and influenced by their notions on nomadology, as well as medieval history and major historical sea-battles, Dr. Otwell is writing a science-fiction novel incorporating these elements.

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