Virtuoso clarinettist Evan Christopher strives to extend the legacies of early Creole clarinetists such as Sidney Bechet, Omer Simeon, and Barney Bigard ‘with his unique brand of “contemporary, early jazz”. After beginning his clarinet studies at the age of 11, he received the Louis Armstrong National Jazz Award, graduated from the prestigious Idyllwild Arts Academy, and California State University, Long Beach.
Christopher joined the New Orleans music community in 1994, gigging with musicians such as Al Hirt and veterans of Preservation Hall to funk and brass bands including the Nightcrawlers and Galactic. In 1996 he left for San Antonio, Texas to appear nightly for nearly three years with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band.
When he 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. In August 2005 Christopher left again, this time to Paris at the invitation of the French Embassy’s Cultural Services division, where he formed his group, Django à la Créole.
As a composer, Evan Christopher’s original songs feature on acclaimed recordings including the Grammy-winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s Book One (2012). In July 2010, he debuted his Treat It Gentle Suite with the Minnesota Orchestra, which was the first concerto written for clarinet and jazz band in the New Orleans style.
Evan Christopher frequently appears as a guest with forward-looking groups, such as the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and the jazz composer guild, NOLA ArtHouse Music. He is also featured on New Orleans-based artists’ recordings in various genres as a featured soloist.
Django à la Créole is the fusion of Gypsy swing with hot syncopations from the streets of New Orleans, the Caribbean and Brazil. Elegant and impassioned, New Orleans-based clarinettist Evan Christopher’s style is steeped in the tradition exemplified by early jazz masters such as Sidney Bechet, Jimmie Noone, and Barney Bigard. Together with guitarists David Blenkhorn, Dave Kelbie, and bassist Sebastien Girardot, the quartet celebrates the music of the legendary Django Reinhardt and enlivens swing-era classics with fresh interpretations and virtuosic improvisations.
Now in its sixth year, Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival will take place across Colston Hall, the 02 Academy and The Folk House. This year’s programme includes over 20 ticketed concerts, a jam packed schedule of free concerts in the Colston Hall foyer, workshops in the Folk House and The Forge and nightly jam sessions.