Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

166

Evan Christopher: The Remembering Song

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
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 and planted himself in Paris for a spell, but once again, New Orleans came calling and he returned in 2008.

By this point in his life, Christopher might have been road-weary, but what he learned along those roads contributes to his artistry. In Sidney Bechet's autobiography, Treat It Gentle (Twayne Publishers, 1960), the reedman discusses a man traveling a road and coming back, understanding something upon his return that was beyond his grasp when he left. When Christopher first met clarinetist Tony Scott, he also mentioned a road, giving Christopher a signed photo that said "Good luck on clarinet road," adding a cautionary addendum that warned, "Lots of curves." Each and every life change mentioned above can be viewed as one of these curves, but Christopher has come out the other end with a richer musical persona.

With The Remembering Song, Christopher channels Bechet and delivers a touching tribute to New Orleans. Bechet references are everywhere, with originals referencing his book ("You Gotta Treat It Gentle") and covers which were written by his musical associates (Tommy Ladnier's "Mojo Blues"). The songs that aren't directly tied to Bechet are about the Crescent City and Christopher's connection—and return—to this place of wonder. "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans," "My Home Is In A Southern Town" and "Dear Old Southland" are clear messages about the clarinetist's feelings toward his adopted home.

Christopher is in the driver's seat for this trip along "Clarinet Road," but he has some of the best navigators in the business along for the ride. Bucky Pizzarelli—perhaps the greatest living rhythm guitarist at the time of this writing—keeps better time than a Swiss watch. Bassist Greg Cohen, who seems as comfortable with his feet in the Mississippi as he is swimming in the more perilous waters of Masada's music, is a rock, while electric guitarist James Chirillo is the connective tissue.

Christopher has a wide sound that can resemble an alto clarinet when he travels down into the depths of his horn, but his clarinet possess a singing spirit, more in line with Bechet's soprano saxophone, in many places. Every performance, from the snappy work on "The Wrath Of Grapes" to the sweet singing sounds of "Serenade," and ending with the irrepressibly spirited take on "Dear Old Southland," is spellbinding.

Evan Christopher's clarinet is a conduit for the very heart and soul of New Orleans, and The Remembering Song—with all of its passion, promise and Southern purity—is impossible to forget.

Track Listing: The Remembering Song--Prelude; The Wrath Of Grapes; Way Down Yonder In New Orleans; The River By The Road; The Remembering Song--Interlude; Mojo Blues; You Gotta Treat It Gentle; My Home Is In A Southern Town; Serenade; The Remembering Song; Waltz For All Souls; Dear Old Southland.

Personnel: Evan Christopher: clarinet; Bucky Pizzarelli: acoustic guitar; James Chirillo: electric guitar; Greg Cohen: bass.

Title: The Remembering Song | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Arbors Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Finesse

Finesse

Lejazzetal Records
2010

buy
The Remembering Song

The Remembering Song

Arbors Records
2010

buy
Django a la Creole

Django a la Creole

Lejazzetal Records
2008

buy
Delta Bound

Delta Bound

Arbors Records
2007

buy
The Sidney Bechet Society Jam Session Concert

The Sidney Bechet...

Unknown label
2002

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019
Read Vera Album Reviews
Vera
By Jerome Wilson
January 22, 2019
Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019