Chuck has been making a living in music as a performer and educator since age 18. MacKinnon’s musical palette ranges from pioneering new sounds for the trumpet including delay, distortion, and live samples to his latest music project, the "Mactet," an all acoustic venture that features classic funky Blue Note sounding three horn jazz writing.
With over 20 CD credits to his name, MacKinnon has performed with many of the top names in jazz including the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Cab Calloway Orchestra, Joe Henderson, James Moody, Rufus Reid, Randy Brecker, Mark Levine, Bruce Forman, Sam Rivers, Bob Mover, Kenny Brooks, and Dred Scott. Chuck has also toured or performed with crossover groups including John Mayer, Norah Jones, Isaac Mizrahi, Charlie Hunter, Benevento and Russo, Peter Apfelbaum, Will Bernard, Groove Collective, Dig, DJ Logic, and the soul jazz band, Gravy, which he co-led and recorded the "Live at Brunos" CD in 1999.
Chuck resided in New York City from 2000-2010 where he composed music and lead his own bands. In NYC, he worked extensively as a sideman in jazz, rock, pop, hip hop and private party bands. In addition, he was also in demand as a composer/arranger having completed 8 commissions for big band and was a staff arranger for JC Hopkins' Biggish Band.
Currently Chuck is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at University of Kansas on full scholarship where he also teaches jazz courses. Chuck has previously taught at College of San Mateo, Diablo Valley College, University of Santa Cruz, Sonoma State University, California State University East Bay, California State University San Jose, Stanford Jazz Workshop, and the Lafayette Summer Music Workshop. He has taught at several high schools, as well as having taught New York City inner-city music programs for several years.
Chuck credits his apprenticeship in the San Francisco Bay Area where he learned extensively in his youth by sitting in with local piano legend, Smith Dobson, performed with the San Francisco Youth Orchestra, Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps, and Mcdonald's All American Bands. Chuck won a music scholarship to UCLA and later earned his Bachelor of Music degree from William Patterson College in Wayne, NJ, and a Master of Arts in Composition degree from California State University East Bay where won a Downbeat Magazine Award for Best Extended Composition by a Collegiate Musician in 1996.