Sax player Charles Owens began studying music while while attending the University of San Diego. After taking time off to serve in the United States Armed Forces, he studied at Berklee College of Music. In the 1960s, he played with Buddy Rich and Mongo Santamaria as an alto saxophonist. During the 1970s, he played mostly tenor and soprano saxophone with Bobby Bryant, Paul Humphrey, Diana Ross, John Mayall, Frank Zappa, Henry Franklin, Patrice Rushen, Gerald Wilson, Lorez Alexandria, and James Newton among others. He worked with Newton again in the mid-1980s, as well as playing with with John Carter, Horace Tapscott, and Mercer Ellington.
Other collaborators have included Carmen Bradford, Jeannie Cheatham and Jimmy Cheatham, and Buddy Childers, Miles Davis, and Marvin Gaye.