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Music

Charlie Puth, now on tour, a teen-pop star who loves sneaking elements of jazz into his songs

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Charlie Puth performs on NBC’s Today show at Rockefeller Plaza on Friday, July 20, 2018, in New York.
(Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

It’s been three years since singer-songwriter Charlie Puth rose to prominence with “See You Again,” his 2015 collaboration with hip-hop star Wiz Khalifa from the soundtrack to the hit action movie “Furious 7.”

Since then, Puth has become a pop sensation in his own right with a series of catchy hits that include “Attention,” “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” “Marvin Gaye” and “One Call Away.” Make that, a pop sensation with a large teen-aged audience and an abiding love for jazz.

Or, as the keyboard-playing Puth put it at an April press conference in Los Angeles to promote “Voicenotes,” his second album: “The whole album is jazz disguised as pop music. I’ve established a vibe where my music, it might lean adult in a way, but I still have 12-year-olds, teenagers, pre-teenagers — they are all singing the music. And that makes me the happiest guy ever because I’m secretly ‘edumacating’ them, whether they like it or not.”

A New Jersey native, Puth is a 2013 graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, one of the nation’s top jazz training grounds. One of his dreams, he has said a number of times, is to collaborate with jazz keyboard legends Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.

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There’s little on either of Puth’s two soft-rock and blue-eyed-soul-drenched albums that would captivate Corea, Hancock or anyone who doesn’t consider Babyface and Bruno Mars the qualitative equivalents of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. But if Puth — who performs here Monday at Mattress Firm Amphitheatre — can bring a broader chordal and harmonic range to his sleek pop and blue-eyed soul music, more power to him.

2018 Honda Civic Tour presents Charlie Puth, with Hailee Steinfeld

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday

Where: Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, 2050 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista

Tickets: $52-$79, plus service charges

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Phone: (800) 753-4000

Online: livenation.com

george.varga@sduniontribune.com

Twitter @georgevarga


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