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Evan Christopher brings his clarinet style to Gainesville

Trio to perform Saturday night

POSTED: February 16, 2012 1:30 a.m.
/For Get Out

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Evan Christopher is a refreshingly bright light on the national and international jazz scene. This weekend, he brings his unique sound to Gainesville as part of The Arts Council’s Evenings of Intimate Jazz series.

With strong roots in the idioms of early jazz and Creole clarinet style, Christopher combines virtuosity, taste and youthful energy with a deep commitment to capturing a full range of musical possibilities.

Christopher was born in Long Beach, Calif., and began his musical training on clarinet at the age of 11.

In high school, he was a recipient of the Louis Armstrong National Jazz Award and was one of the first graduates of the prestigious Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts.

He continued his studies at the University of Southern California on music scholarships and graduated with a degree in music from California State University.

After working, touring and recording with various bands and artists on the west coast, Christopher moved to New Orleans where he rapidly made a name for himself.

Appearing with top musicians as stylistically varied as veterans of Preservation Hall and Al Hirt to funk and brass bands like the Nightcrawlers and Galactic, he eventually accepted an offer to join the Jim Cullum Jazz Band in San Antonio.

During his three year stint with this band, he made regular national radio broadcasts as a featured clarinetist on National Public Radio’s "Riverwalk: Live from the Landing." He accompanied artists such as Dick Hyman, William Warfield and Topsy Chapman.

Having returned to New Orleans in 2001, Christopher has established himself as an important part of the Crescent City music scene.

Christopher adds a Creole flavor evocative of Jelly Roll Morton and makes use of the "Habanera" rhythm.

His group also adds rhythmic elements from Cuba, the Caribbean and Brazil. The result is a vibrant music that appeals to contemporary audiences. Christopher’s sound is thoroughly organic, unforced and natural.

When asked why he chose the clarinet, Christopher says, "I blame Artie Shaw. I read his autobiography, and I knew I wanted to grow up to be a grumpy old man."

Other artists in this series include The Wycliffe Gordon Trio on March 24; The Del Baroni Trio with Jennifer Hanson on April 20; and The Larry Barker Quartet on May 19.

All performances will start at 8 p.m. at The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center. Individual performance tickets are $30. A 7 percent sales tax will be added to all ticket sales. For tickets call 770-534-2787 or visit www.TheArtsCouncil.net



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