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Clarinet player brings New Orleans jazz to Gainesville
Evan Christopher
Clarinet player Evan Christopher will perform Feb. 17 as part of The Arts Council’s Evenings of Intimate Jazz series. Photo courtesy The Arts Council.

Clarinetist Evan Christopher is known for his deep throaty noise.

He will be coming to Gainesville to play a sold-out show. The performance Saturday, Feb. 17, at The Arts Council’s Smithgall Arts Center is more intimate than others put on by the organization.

“I personally like performing for smaller groups where the setting is closer to the audience and you don’t have to be using a microphone. I like performances like that,” Christopher said. “For Gainesville, I like the idea that they are promoting musical events and kind of intentionally emphasizing the intimacy of the space and the intimacy between the audience and the musician.”

Those interested in attending can be put on a waiting list.

Evan Christopher

What: Jazz clarinetist presented by The Arts Council as part of its Intimate Jazz Series

When: 8 p.m. Feb. 17

Where: Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring St. SW, Gainesville

How much: $37.45, show sold-out but waiting list available

More info: 770-534-2787

“This is mainly a series ticket holder event, so the other people that want tickets have to wait for someone to cancel or not be able to make it so they can get that available spot,” said Nairika Cornett, a spokeswoman for the council.

Christopher has performed at the Smithgall Arts Center before.

“Over the years, jazz has gotten a large following in Gainesville, and this has helped us sell the series beautifully,” Cornett said. “He is a world-class clarinetist out of New Orleans who tours the world. He is one of our favorites with the audience.”

Something Christopher tries to bring to his performances is his New Orleans culture, whether it’s with his songs or just talking about it in between performances. He said he likes to talk about the history of jazz music in New Orleans and how it has changed over the years.

“I do it as respectfully as I can by telling them what I think are some interesting stories about the history of the music there and musicians and the songs,” he said.

Cornett has seen him perform before and said his passion is amazing and he loves what he does.

“One of the things that Evan is able to do with his instrument is actually emotionally evoke something within you,” she said. “It’s much more than listening to just music. He actually truly touches your core with what he does with that instrument.”

Christopher performs 50-60 shows a year and said he always strives to make his performances a little different than the last.

“What gets me excited is that with this music you can always approach it a certain way, and you can perform that song a 100 times and it is never going to come out the same,” he said. “And then another part that is exciting is that the same way an athlete gets excited about playing a baseball game, you just know that you have an opportunity to try something you haven’t done before.”

His performance will be 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:30 p.m.

“The sound he produces from his instrument, it stays in your head,” Cornett said. “The quality of sound that he is able to produce from that instrument — there are times when it actually sounds like a human voice singing, and it’s his instrument. It’s just unbelievable. One has to witness it to know what that means.”

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