Evan 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, Omer Simeon, and Barney Bigard. 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 OBSERVER, UK).
Christopher’s journey on Clarinet Road began in 1994, when he left his native California to join the New Orleans music community. Published research on the New Orleans clarinet style, his Clarinet Road series of CD and international touring place him squarely as one of the most active ambassadors of the tradition.
As a composer, 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, and his clarinet feature on the Grammy-winning, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s Book One (2012).
In addition to a busy performing career, music workshops and educational or community outreach complement his concerts, and a regular column for NolaVie.com discusses cultural conservation in post-Federal Flood New Orleans.