Sun 13 Jan 2013
Evan Christopher was back last week in Tel Aviv, three years after his tour here, and it was a great opportunity to see and listen to him again in the 3rd concert of the Hot Jazz season at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
California-born Christopher set base in New Orleans, which is one of the principal sources of inspiration for his style and repertory. The second one is the French manouche style which he became familiar with during his residency in France, after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
The evening was dedicated to the New Orleans music and to saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet. Born in New Orleans in a Creole family Bechet’s carrier had up to a point similarities to Christopher. He also had the occasion to know European music and especially French jazz, the first time in the 1920s as a member of the Revue Nègre band, that included Josephine Baker, and later in the 1950s, when he settled in France, where he died in 1959. He knew Django Reinhardt and the hot jazz guitar (manouche) style. Here is one of the pieces from Bechet’s repertory played last Friday by Christopher, Petite Fleur, as recorded by Bechet in concert at Olympia in 1954.
The only clip I could find on youTube with the image of Sidney Bechet playing live was a version of St. Louis Blues.
One of the interesting aspects of the Hot Jazz series is the meeting of the foreign guests with the local musicians. it’s always interesting to see the dialog between cultures and styles taking place in the language of jazz. Christopher’s partners last Friday were the Israeli group Swing de Gitanes composed of Yaakov Hoter and Alon Sagi on guitar and the excellent contra-bass player Oren Sagi. The three young musicians make gypsy jazz, here they are playing Tchavolo Swing.
Much of the music that Christopher does today is also manouche. Here is one of the best examples I could find on the Internet, with one of the bands with one of the groups he created in France Django a la Creole (the name says it all about the fusion of New Orleans and French jazz traditions) doing the Farewell Blues. Do I hear echoes from Hora Staccato in the introduction?
Last, you can listen to another played by Evan Christopher on Friday in the concert in Tel Aviv – Songe d’automne - here is the version played together with The Rosenberg Trio.