Whisper of a Shadow: An Homage to Louis Moreau Gottschalk
About the Artist
Evan ChristopherEvan Christopher combines virtuosity, immaculate taste, and enthusiasm with a commitment to exploring the full range of possibilities in the New Orleans clarinet tradition. His highly personal brand of “contemporary, early jazz” strives to extend the legacies of early Creole clarinetists such as Sidney Bechet, Barney Bigard, and Omer Simeon. Critics remarking on Christopher’s dynamic expressiveness have coined his style “close-encounter music” (New York Times) and have called his respect for the music traditions of New Orleans, “a triumph, joining the present seamlessly to a glorious past” (The (UK) Observer).
His journey on Clarinet Road began in 1994, when he left his native California to join the New Orleans music community. Diverse freelance work included gigs with musicians such as Al Hirt and veterans of Preservation Hall to funk and brass bands including the Nightcrawlers and Galactic. But in 1996, he left for San Antonio, Texas, to appear nightly for nearly three years with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band and record several of their public radio programs, Riverwalk: Live from the Landing.
When Christopher 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 (STR Digital). In August 2005, when federal levees failed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina decimating the city, Christopher left for Paris at the invitation of the French Embassy’s Cultural Services division, where he formed his group, Django à la Créole. This Europe-based quartet fused Gypsy Swing with Latin-tinged grooves of New Orleans and beyond and was distinguished for an acoustic intimacy paired with driving swing. Critics charmed by the group queried, “Is there a more graceful band at work at the moment?” (The Sunday Times, UK). Three CDs for Lejazzetal (London), in partnership with Frémeaux & Associés (Paris)—Django à la Créole (2007), Finesse (2010), and LIVE! (2014)—earned the group critical attention worldwide for its elegant character.
As a composer, Christopher’s original songs are the high point of acclaimed recordings including Delta Bound (Arbors, 2007) featuring pianist Dick Hyman, The Remembering Song (Arbors, 2010) featuring guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, his clarinet feature on the Grammy-winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s Book One (2012), and his latest Clarinet Road CD, Bayou Chant & Other Textures (STR Digital, 2016). In July 2010, he had the honor to debut his Treat It Gentle Suite with the Minnesota Orchestra, which was the first concerto written for clarinet with band in the New Orleans style.
Christopher began his musical training on clarinet at age 11. In high school, he received the Louis Armstrong National Jazz Award and was one of the first graduates of the prestigious Idyllwild Arts Academy. He continued studies at the University of Southern California and graduated with honors from California State University, Long Beach. A brief teaching stint at the University of New Orleans saw the creation of a New Orleans music ensemble that performed with guest mentors, such as Lucien Barbarin and Marcus Roberts.
Since 2008, having returned again to New Orleans, Christopher actively advocates for the cultural workforce and music education. He frequently tours with and records as a guest with forward-looking artists, while performances under his own name are often complemented by workshops and educational and community outreach. Occasional columns about the music scene and New Orleans culture for NolaVie.com, evidence his passion for the city’s indigenous traditions.
Learn more about Christopher from his website: http://www.clarinetroad.com/.
Yohan GiaumeComposer, arranger, trumpeter, and ethnomusicologist Yohan Giaume boasts an eclectic and wide-ranging musical career. Giaume collaborates with internationally renowned artists and ensembles.
Born in 1977 near Grenoble, France, Giaume studied the trumpet, composition, harmony, and counterpoint in Lyon, Chambéry, and Grenoble. He continued his studies in jazz harmony, arrangement, and trumpet with celebrated trumpeter Pierre Drevet at the Conservatory of Chambéry. He also studied orchestration with Olivier Kaspar at the Conservatory of music in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés and earned a master's degree in ethnomusicology at the University of Sorbonne in Paris.
Giaume has always been eager to learn different musical styles. In 2004, he moved to Cuba to study traditional Cuban music, and was hired to play in groups such as Orquesta Chepin Choven and Banda Municipal de Santiago de Cuba. He toured Europe with the latter and joined the group of Benito Suarez, former guitarist of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club. After Cuba, Giaume was an arranger with Kocani Orkestar's Tsigan brass band in 2005–06 and worked with Argentinian composer, pianist, and singer Juan Carlos Cáceres as an arranger and trumpet player. With Cáceres, he recorded the album Utopia (Mañana Music, 2007). Giaume received the Envie d'Agir award and moved to Argentina to conduct research on the country's music.
After submerging himself in the culture and community of New York jazz musicians, he received a commission from Evan Christopher to write two pieces for the Evan Christopher Jazz Quartet with Don Vappie, Dave Williamson, and Shannon Powell and the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra. These pieces were performed in July 2010 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
In France, Giaume has worked on a wide variety of major musical projects. In 2006, he arranged music for 200 musicians in the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon. In 2009, in tribute to the famous French singer Claude Nougaro, he composed a dozen arrangements for different ensembles, some with more than 300 musicians. These arrangements were performed in Toulouse by André Minvielle, the Grammy-nominated Manu Dibango, Guillaume Lopez, and many others. He also performed with singer Alima Hamel in an anniversary concert in Toulouse before 23,000 spectators. Recently, Giaume has been working with Christian Vieussens on his new show as an arranger/composer and trumpet player.
As an ethnomusicologist, Giaume has conducted research into the origins of music shared by America, Europe, and Africa. His latest research focuses on the influence of Afro-Caribbean rhythms in early New Orleans jazz, as well as on the jazz funeral. Learn more about Yohan Giaume on his website, yohangiaume.com.
Learn more about Yohan Giaume on his website: http://www.yohangiaume.com.