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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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EVAN CHRISTOPHER

Delta Bound

Arbors Jazz ARCD 19325

 

 

 



1. Vieux Carré
2. Rampart Street Ramble
3. Creole Belles
4. New Orleans
5. Kiss Me Sweet
6. La Ciudad Criolla
7. The King of Tremé
8. Desire
9. Out Of There
10. While We Danced at the Mardi Gras
11. Sunday Mornings
12. Delta Bound
 
Evan Christopher – Clarinets
Dick Hyman – Piano
Bill Huntington – Bass
Shannon Powell – Drums

 

New Orleans continues to prey on the minds of jazz fans appalled at the devastation of the city and the sloth with which the authorities are repairing it. This album pays a fine tribute to New Orleans through tunes associated with the city as well as five originals by clarinettist Evan Christopher. Evan was not born in New Orleans but he moved there in the mid-nineties and his clarinet style evokes the New Orleans tradition represented by such players as Barney Bigard and Jimmie Noone. This is by no means a primitive style – indeed, it is characterised by elegance and technical brilliance as well as emotion – and Evan's playing has those qualities in abundance. These qualities are also the hallmark of pianist Dick Hyman, surely one of the most complete pianists anywhere. His solos are stylish as well as elegant but it is also worth listening out for every note of his accompaniments, which illustrate his never-ending discretion and good taste.

The New Orleans spirit is present in tunes like the bluesy title-track (recorded in 1933 by Jimmie Noone) and Creole Belles with its "Latin tinge". But that spirit also resides in Evan's own compositions, like Rampart Street Ramble (introduced by the sturdy bass of Bill Huntington) and Sunday Mornings (part of a suite commissioned by the Sidney Bechet Society). The appeal of this whole album might be summed up by the word "spirit", as its musical virtuosity is underpinned by a tender warmth which is appealing and moving. Through this album, New Orleans is still very much alive.

Tony Augarde

 

 

 

 



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