Charlie grew up in Hertfordshire and began learning the piano aged 9. Charlie was introduced to jazz in his teens by his grandparents and went on to join the Essex Youth Jazz Orchestra.
Charlie was awarded a place at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where he studied with John Taylor, Hans Koller, John Turville and Liam Noble. He also held the piano chair with MYJO, with whom he performed live on BBC2 in 2015. He graduated from the Conservatoire in 2017 with first class honours while also winning the Composition Prize (2016), Jazz Performance Prize and Deans’ Award for Exceptional Achievement (2017).
As well as being a pianist, Charlie is gaining quite a reputation as a composer and arranger. In 2017, The Charlie Bates Big Band released their debut album 'Silhouettes', which features the remarkable talents of Percy Pursglove on Trumpet. This was received well by the national press and was labelled 'Impressive and inventive' by The Guardian's John Fordham. Charlie has written arrangements for some of the countries finest vocalists including Claire Martin OBE and Clare Teal (BBC Radio 2). After spending some time studying with grammy nominated composer Jim McNeely, Charlie went on to win the Dankworth Award for Jazz Composition and spent a year as the composer-in-residence for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra - whom he directed at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club in January 2020.
Charlie is also a passionate teacher. He teaches at Hockerill Anglo European College in Hertfordshire and coaches big bands and jazz ensembles in specialist workshops all over the country.