Charli Persip (born July 26, 1929) is an American jazz drummer. Born in Morristown, New Jersey, as Charles Lawrence Persip, and formerly known as Charlie Persip, he changed the spelling of his name to Charli in the early 1980s.
Persip attended West Side High School in Newark, preferring it over Newark Arts High School because he wanted to join the former’s football team. He later studied drums with Al Germansky in Newark, New Jersey. After playing with Tadd Dameron in 1953, he gained recognition as a jazz drummer as he toured and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie’s big and small bands between 1953 and 1958. He then joined Harry “Sweets” Edison’s quintet and later the Harry James Orchestra before forming his own group, the Jazz Statesmen, with Roland Alexander, Freddie Hubbard, and Ron Carter in 1960. Around this time, Persip also recorded with several other formidable jazz musicians, including Lee Morgan, Dinah Washington, Melba Liston, Kenny Dorham, Zoot Sims, Red Garland, Gil Evans, Don Ellis, Eric Dolphy, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Gene Ammons. Persip was also the drummer on the legendary “Eternal Triangle” recording, Sonny Side Up (Verve Records), featuring Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt. From 1960 to 1973 he toured as a drummer and conductor with Billy Eckstine.
Along with his performing activities, Persip has earned a reputation as an educator. Since 1974, he has been instructor of drums and music for Jazzmobile, Inc. in New York. He is currently (2008) Associate Professor at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan.