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Evan Christopher

Evan Christopher combines virtuosity, immaculate taste, and enthusiasm with a commitment to exploring the full range of possibilities in the New Orleans clarinet tradition. His highly personal brand of “contemporary, early jazz” strives to extend the legacies of early Creole clarinetists such as Sidney Bechet, Barney Bigard and Omer Simeon. Critics remarking on Christopher’s dynamic expressiveness have coined his style “close-encounter music” (NEW YORK TIMES) and have called his respect for the music traditions of New Orleans, “a triumph, joining the present seamlessly to a glorious past.” (THE OBSERVER, UK).

His journey on Clarinet Road began in 1994, when he left his native California to join the New Orleans music community. Diverse freelance work included gigs with musicians such as Al Hirt and veterans of Preservation Hall to funk and brass bands including the Nightcrawlers and Galactic. But in 1996, he left for San Antonio, Texas to appear nightly for nearly three years with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band and record several of their public radio programs, Riverwalk: Live from the Landing.

When Christopher returned to New Orleans in 2001, his published research on the New Orleans clarinet style initiated pursuit of a Master’s degree in Musicology at Tulane University. He began touring internationally and producing his “Clarinet Road” series of CDs (STR Digital). In August 2005, when Federal levees failed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina decimating the city, Christopher left again for Paris at the invitation of the French Embassy’s Cultural Services division, where he formed his group, Django à la Créole. This Europe-based quartet fused Gypsy Swing with Latin-tinged grooves of New Orleans and beyond and was distinguished for an acoustic intimacy paired with driving swing. Critics charmed by the group queried, “Is there a more graceful band at work at the moment?” (THE SUNDAY TIMES UK). Three CDs for Lejazzetal (London), in partnership with Frémeaux & Associés (Paris)—Django à la Créole (2007), Finesse (2010), and LIVE! (2014)—earned the group critical attention worldwide for its elegant character.

As a composer, Christopher’s original songs are the high point of acclaimed recordings including Delta Bound (Arbors, 2007) featuring pianist Dick Hyman, The Remembering Song (Arbors, 2010) featuring guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, his clarinet feature on the Grammy-winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s Book One (2012) and his latest Clarinet Road CD, Bayou Chant & Other Textures (STR Digital, 2016). In July 2010, he had the honor to debut his Treat It Gentle Suite with the Minnesota Orchestra, which was the first concerto written for clarinet with band in the New Orleans style.

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Album Review

Jon-Erik Kellso and the EarRegulars: Live at the Ear Inn

Read "Live at the Ear Inn" reviewed by Jack Bowers

As trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso and his EarRegulars had been performing every Sunday night for more than sixteen years at New York City's historic Ear Inn, Kellso reasoned it was time that one of their concerts should be recorded to share more broadly the fun and enthusiasm that animates every session. Once the ties had been bound, parts of two concerts were recorded, on January 15 and 29, 2023. The music is a hybrid, with one foot planted ...

Album Review

Kathy Ingraham: Everlasting Cool

Read "Everlasting Cool" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

If you have a lovely mezzo-soprano voice, lots of chops, a feel for selling a song, a talent for storytelling, and some sense of why tradition is what it is, you end up with Kathy Ingraham. Ms. Ingraham is also not afraid of the big no-no, singing standards (and, lo and behold, their verses too), although she has been known to write her own material too. Whatever the case, she is a treat to listen to and, with a nonpareil ...

Album Review

Yohan Giaume: Whisper of a Shadow

Read "Whisper of a Shadow" reviewed by Jim Worsley

Collaborations are quite common projects in the jazz world, and in most forms of music, for that matter. Collaborations, however, are slightly more rare when a modern day composer's album is in conjunction with a composer from the nineteenth century. Such is the case with the works of Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) melding with composer and trumpeter Yohan Giaume. Giaume has had a deep connection, both musically and intellectually, with Gottschalk for many years. Gottschalk's world travels, influences, and notable ...

Album Review

Cindy Scott: Historia

Read "Historia" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Stating the obvious right off, vocalist Cindy Scott is from New Orleans. This fact thoroughly and three-dimensionally informs the twelve selections on Historia, Scott's follow-up to Let The Devil Take Tomorrow (Catahoula Records, 2009), without making a burden of it. In subtle and not-so-subtle ways, the aural aroma of the Crescent City appears like an essence, that hyperdistillation that leaves neither finger nor footprint but exists as an indelible mark on the music readily recognised. This mark is made audible ...

Album Review

Evan Christopher: The Remembering Song

Read "The Remembering Song" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

All roads lead to New Orleans for clarinetist Evan Christopher. Christopher left sunny California in the mid-'90s and arrived in NOLA, ready to absorb from--and contribute to--the rich musical environs that only the Crescent City could claim. His initial stay lasted two years, but the city drew him back again in 2001. After Hurricane Katrina came to wreak havoc a few years later, Christopher--like many other musicians from the region--was a man without a home. He spent some time traveling ...

Album Review

Evan Christopher's Django a la Creole: Finesse

Read "Finesse" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

The epithet “flawless technique" does not even begin to describe Evan Christopher's manner of playing, perhaps, the most challenging reed instrument: the clarinet. His polished intonation is marked by the perfect annunciation of the notes that gush forth from his clarinet sometimes at great speed. His rhythmic attack is so full of surprise, especially when he injects elements of Brazilian and other Latin American colorings into the long, loping lines he plays. He has a spiritual connection with Django Reinhardt ...

Album Review

Evan Christopher: Django a la Creole

Read "Django a la Creole" reviewed by Gina Vodegel

For clarinetist Evan Christopher, Django a la Creole is the result of a forced journey from his home in New Orleans. In what might be seen as a positive aftermath of the Katrina disaster in 2005, Christopher temporarily relocated to Paris, focusing his actions on raising awareness for the musical culture that had put New Orleans on the map rather than that of Katrina. His “Django a la Creole" project debuted in August 2007 with concerts in Great Britain and ...

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New Orleans Clarinet with Evan Christopher This Week on Riverwalk Jazz

New Orleans Clarinet with Evan Christopher This Week on Riverwalk Jazz

Source: Don Mopsick

This week, Riverwalk Jazz spotlights the rich legacy of jazz clarinet players from the Crescent City. The sound of New Orleans jazz is unique. The distinctive New Orleans clarinet sound blends with cornet, trombone, drums, bass, banjo and piano in polyphonic New Orleans-style jazz bands, just as filé spice binds ingredients together in a gumbo stew. Evan Christopher, a contemporary New Orleans-based player dedicated to this unique clarinet tradition joins The Jim Cullum Jazz Band on stage at The Landing. ...



Heard Evan Christopher Yet? (PT. 2)

Heard Evan Christopher Yet? (PT. 2)

Source: The Independent Ear by Willard Jenkins

Part one of Twin Cities-based writer Pamela Espeland's conversation with the kinetic New Orleans-based clarinetist Evan Christopher left off with the artist commenting on his jazz education in his native California and his earlier leanings towards perhaps--tongue-in-cheek--qualifying for a spot in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

So now you are known as a New Orleans-style, Creole-style clarinetist.  That's how everyone talks about you and how you present yourself.  Does that ever feel like a trap?

No, because in 2006 I intentionally ...



Have You Heard Evan Christopher?

Have You Heard Evan Christopher?

Source: The Independent Ear by Willard Jenkins

Once you get past the outsized ego of its leader, trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, the burgeoning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra is potentially an exceptional representation of both the modern and traditional jazz fruits of the city. The orchestra, or NOJO as it is known, boasts such gifted players as saxophonists Ed Peterson and Derek Douget, trombonist Ron Westray, and the sturdy rhythm section of pianist Victor Atkins, bassist David Pulphus, and drummer Adonis Rose, versatile modernists steeped in the New Orleans ...



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Live at the Ear Inn

Arbors Records


Everlasting Cool

Peirdon Production Label


Whisper of a Shadow

Life Celebration Project


Paper Doll

Peirdon Production






Lejazzetal Records




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