Django a la Creole
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Django a la Creole
Release date : Jul. 02, 2008
Label : Lejazzetal licensed to Fremeaux Associes
Tracklist:
  1. Douce Ambience
  2. Farewell Blues
  3. Dinette
  4. I know that you know
  5. Manoir de mes reves
  6. Low cotton
  7. Nuages
  8. Melodie au crepescule
  9. Insensiblement
  10. Tears/Djangology


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chosen in the SUNDAY TIMES top 100 CDs of 2008
- Distributed in the U.K. by Discovery Records
- Distributed in France by Socadisc / Frémeaux & Associés
- Distributed in Spain by Karonte
- Distributed in Canada by SRI
- Distributed in Japan by YTT

In a favorable review of this CD, Alison Kerr of the Scotsman reminds us that “CDs invoking the memory of the great gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and his recorded output are ten a penny.” So, to necessarily distinguish Django à la Créole from the myriad other efforts, Christopher took the advice of New Orleans piano professor Jelly-Roll Morton who said, “For jazz, you’ve got to have that Spanish Tinge.” Morton was referring to Latinate rhythms, especially the sultry Habañera, that have infused the popular musics of New Orleans from the earliest days of jazz to the present. The group strives to season well-worn repertory with rhythms from New Orleans, Cuba, Brazil, and the Caribbean. In these instances, such as the opening track DOUCE AMBIANCE, the rhythm guitar and bass work in tandem to create a bed of syncopations on which the melodies can float. For the group’s more swinging vehicles, requisite are referentiality to New Orleans or nods to the most significant early jazz innovators. For example, FAREWELL BLUES, recorded by Django with Benny Carter is a 1923 standard composed by members of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings.

DINETTE, Django’s contrafact based on DINAH gets a Cha-Cha-Cha treatment with David Blenkhorn evoking the color of the Cuban Tres. Not content to simply recreate one of the jams that paired Django with the Ellingtonians, Christopher tries to imagine what the Hot Club of France might have done with I KNOW THAT YOU KNOW if they had heard the classic 1928 rendition by Jimmy Noone. A Bolero take on Django’s classic ballad MANOIR DE MES REVES uses introductory material from both his 193? and 194? versions. Rex Stewart’s LOW COTTON is only slightly embellished here. “Lowness” is emphasized by an unhurried tempo, bluesy bass solo, and Christopher’s use of the clarinet’s most profound register even below it’s usual range. Two of Django’s most famous compositions NUAGES and MELODIE AU CREPESCULE transport us to Havana then Rio De Janeiro. INSENSIBLEMENT, like a Creole lullaby, slows the pace for a bit of romance before the closer which combines two pieces, TEARS and DJANGOLOGY, into a single Mortonesque Spanish-tinged rag.

This re-working of tradition is the main goal and focus of Django à la Créole. These virtuoso musicians know that the style-specific language that anchors them in the respective traditions of their instruments must be rendered faithfully and personally before they can be reinterpreted. Anything less would be at best unimaginative repertory, or a museum piece; at worst music for nostalgia’s sake which inevitably reduces art to a parody of itself. Lastly, it should be stated that the group’s hope for this CD recording marks an attempt to return to an earlier model for jazz. Another important aspect of traditions, especially jazz, is that they do not evolve naturally in the vacuum of the musicians’ creative world. The listening audience must help to celebrate the traditions as well. Instead of a performance inviting one to purchase a CD, Christopher and company hope that this recording will serve as an invitation to experience their music the way it was intended. Live.


Reviews

Le Devoir – Quebec CANADA
12.05.2009 – Django à la créole – french

Katrina est tombée en force sur Evan Christopher, et le musicien n’a pas sauvé grand-chose d’autre que sa clarinette en 2005. Dure période. Mais quelques mois après le passage de l’ouragan, Christopher était invité en résidence à Paris, où il a monté deux groupes, dont Django à la créole. Concept simple: on reprend la musique du géant gitan en lui donnant quelques airs du bayou. Swing à La Nouvelle-Orléans, en somme. Deux guitares, une clarinette et une contrebasse. Et ça fonctionne diablement. Ce raccord de Django au blues, aux rythmes créoles et à l’impro du jazz coule de source, se dit-on d’oreille. La faute, d’abord, au naturel éloquent du jeu de Christopher, dont certains suggèrent qu’il est le Stan Getz de la clarinette tant le son est pur et fluide. La faute, ensuite, à une rythmique imparable qui s’accommode aussi bien des ballades (Douce ambiance) que des pièces plus relevées (I Know that You Know). On dira merci à Katrina pour la trouvaille.

GUILLAUME BOURGAULT-COTE


Journal de Montreal CANADA
30.03.2009 – DJANGO SOUS LE SOLEIL – french

Père spirituel de tous les guitaristes gitans et manouches, Django Reinhardt aura une influence considérable sur le rôle de cet instrument dans l’univers du jazz. Indissociable du quintette du Hot Club de France avec le violoniste Stéphane Grappelli, fabuleux technicien et maître des couleurs harmoniques, il fait encore rêver. Dans la galaxie note bleue, il ne manquait plus qu’un Django version créole. Nous voici comblés !

À la fin août 2005, le clarinettiste Evan Christopher, originaire de la Nouvelle-Orléans, a fait partie des sinistrés de l’ouragan Katrina. Par un coup de chance inouï, le Consulat de France à la Nouvelle-Orléans, ou du moins ce qu’il en reste, lui propose une résidence artistique. Puisant dans les saveurs de la musique créole, et l’histoire du jazz (Jelly Roll Morton, Frank Goodie, Barney Bigard, Jimmy Noone), il décide de réinterpréter le répertoire du célèbre guitariste sur des rythmes chaloupés, avec des acolytes en provenance du Royaume-Uni, de Hollande et d’Australie.


BIEN-ÊTRE

Malgré le printemps, il y a toujours des petits matins frisquets, d’où « l’obligation » d’écouter ce disque pour votre bien-être. Que vous soyez grand connaisseur, ou pas, de l’œuvre du guitariste, cela a en fait peu d’importance puisque tout est dans l’interprétation, amplifiée par une clarinette au son boisé et des rythmes qui sortent un peu de l’ordinaire.

De Douce Ambiance bercée par plusieurs mesures de calypso au classique Manoir de mes rêves, maîtrisés de façon stupéfiante, nous sommes en extase. Une grande poésie, de la tranquillité qui fait oublier, pour quelques instants, les tumultes de ce monde.
CHRISTOPHE RODRIQUEZ


All about Jazz USA
11.12.2008 – Django a la Creole

For clarinetist Evan Christopher, Django a la Creole is the result of a forced journey from his home in New Orleans. In what might be seen as a positive aftermath of the Katrina disaster in 2005, Christopher temporarily relocated to Paris, focusing his actions on raising awareness for the musical culture that had put New Orleans on the map rather than that of Katrina. His “Django a la Creole” project debuted in August 2007 with concerts in Great Britain and Norway. The album was recorded in December, just before Christopher—who had been commuting to the United States since February 2007—moved back to New Orleans, and was proudly released at the 25th anniversary of the French Quarter Festival.

Accompanied by three most eminent gypsy jazz ambassadors, Django a la Creole is not only an homage to the musical identity and legacy of New Orleans, but a weaving in of patterns celebrating the collaboration of Django Reinhardt with musicians like Frank Goudie, Rex Stewart, Sidney Bechet, Barney Bigard and Hubert Rostaing. Christopher also adds distinct, warm Latin American- Caribbean-Spanish moods and sounds, bringing new angles to the six classic Reinhardt compositions found among the album’s ten compositions.

It’s like being presented a case of fine Cuban cigars where each has its own scent and recipe, making it impossible to pick the one that appeals the most. The Reinhardt tracks—from the opener “Douce Ambience” to “Dinette,” “Manoir De Mes Reves,” “Nuages,” “Melodie Au Crepescule” and “Tears/Djangology”—each breathe their own rhythm without losing the master’s original signature. The charm of “Manoir De Mes Reves” resonates through guitarist Dave Blenkhorn’s gentle yet decisive touch and Christopher’s lush vibrato. Blenkhorn originally hails from Australia, but moved to the UK in 2005. His chemistry with guitarist Dave Kelbie and bassist Sebastien Girardot (also from Australia) prove to hold the right sort of energy needed to make Christopher’s clarinet sing, slide and sigh with ease on Rex Stewart’s “Low Cotton.”

Christopher almost turns the saxophone into a superfluous piece of metal junk on Reinhardt’s “Melodie Au Crepescule” and the slow but intoxicating “Insensiblement,” written by Paul Misraki. The range and sound of these tunes matches so closely to the saxophone that almost any reed player could deliver the melodies. Still, Christopher’s mastery of his instrument—knowing that a clarinet is tougher to handle than a saxophone— promptly emphasizes the skill required to produce such intricate sounds. Both Blenkhorn and Christopher showcase their technique and intuitive approach, whilst Kelbie and Girardot offer balance where needed, allowing Girardot a rare moment in the spotlight on “Low Cotton.”

“Farewell Blues” is extremely powerful in a colorful palette of classic, nuanced swing. “I Know That You Know” is another tune carrying a passionate torch for the Hot Club de France sound. If any comparison arises after having experienced the musical joy of these four musicians, it’s the round, full, deep and lyrical tones of Christopher that might crown him the Stan Getz of the clarinet.
GINA VODEGEL


jazz.com USA
11.12.2008 – DOUCE AMBIENCE

You may not see much coverage of traditional jazz in the media (or even the jazz media, for that matter), but it is alive and well; and no sector of trad-ville is more vibrant than the gypsy caravan on the outskirts of town. Django has passed from jazz history and become a figure of mythic resonance: indeed, few jazz figures from before WWII have a more devoted following nowadays, or exert such a powerful ongoing influence on the current scene. (Jazz.com’s Bill Barnes will give you an insider’s look at this subculture here.)

Clarinet is not a common instrument in this style of jazz performance, which is heavily tilted toward the strings. But you wouldn’t know it from Evan Christopher’s deliciously languorous approach to “Douce Ambience.” He elicits a rich, smoky tone from his horn, and puts such a personal stamp on his melody statement that you don’t even need to wait for the solos to appreciate that you are in the hands of a master stylist. But please do wait for the solos. Christopher & Co. work their taut phrases over a dark, tango-ish swing and with no wasted energy. Très douce.
Ted Gioia


Jazz Dixie/Swing No60
03.11.2008 – Django à la Créole – english

Evan Christopher is joined here by Dave Blenkhorn (g), Dave Kelbie (g) and Sebastien Girardot (b) who is mostly known on this side of the Normandy beaches. Evan, a renowned master of his instrument, evokes the great Jimmie Noone, Buster Bailey, and Barney Biggard (of course!); He is less identifiable for his sense of swing or blues than his amazing technical audacity which is clear in both the upper and lower register and by the great sound quality of this recording. As we can see here, the repertoire corresponds mostly to the recordings of Django with the visiting American stars of the 40′s.

The feeling of the tradition is respected with the added bonuses of Evan’s imagination and hints of the music of Sauguet (as well as others from the French school) but what make this so different to other recordings honouring Django is the almost constant “Latin touch”.

The rhythm section is tight with interventions by Dave Blenkhorn (as usual the other Dave (Kelbie) remains discreet) in the spirit of Django (even Crolla!) with beautiful lyric and nostalgic phrases (Manoir des mes Reves, Low Cotton…); those of Sebastien, added to an impressive rhythmic stability are curiously more in the stlye of Billie Taylor in Nuages than in Low Cotton.
Faced with the lack of recording by the major labels, here we find, just like the years following the war, audacious (or foolhardy!) musicians throwing themselves into the adventure or recording original works of quality in the great tradition of the jazz that we love!!
CLAUDIA et JEAN-PIERRE BATTESTINI


Jazz Dixie/Swing No60 FRANCE
03.11.2008 – Django à la Créole – french

Evan Christopher est entouré ici de Dave Blenkhorn (g), Dave Kelbie (g) et Sébastien Girardot (b) majoritairement connu de ce côté-ci des côtes de Normandie. Evan, un maître reconnu de son instrument évoque les plus grands Jimmie Noone, Buster Bailey, Barney Biggard (bien sûr!); Evan est identifiable moins pour son sens du swing ou celui du blues que pour ses audaces techniques confondantes fidèlement rendues par la prise son qui restitute bien ses notes étonnement graves ou aiguës! Comme il peut être constaté, le repertoire correspond surtout à celui enregistré à Paris avec des vedettes américaines autour des années ’40. L’esprit de la tradition respecté, avec en prime des mises au point d’Evan fouillées, des clins d’oeil par endroits à la musique de Sauguet (ainsi que d’autres auteurs de l’école française) ou orientale et, démarquages des nombreux disques enregistrés en l’honneur de Django, une quasi permanente “Latin touch”. La rythmique est bien soudée avec des interventions de Dave – comme à l’habitude l’autre Dave (Kelbie) reste très discret – dans l’esprit de Django (voire Crolla!) avec de belles phrases chantantes et nostalgiques (Manoir, Low Cotton…); celles de Sébastien, en plus d’une assise rythmique impressionnante, sont curieusement plus à-la Billie Taylor dans Nuages que dans low Cotton. Devant la faillite des Majors dans le domaine des enregistrements, nous retrouvons ici aussi, comme dans les années d’après guerre, des audacieux (ou inconscients!) qui se lancent dans l’aventure de l’enregistrement d’oeuvres originales et de qualité dans la grande tradition du jazz que nous aimons!
CLAUDIA et JEAN-PIERRE BATTESTINI


Jazz Classique FRANCE
10.10.2008 – Django à la Créole – french

Souvent, dansles chroniques de jazz, nous pouvrons lire, parfois à juste titre, des appréciations du genre: “pure merveille”, “vrai regal”, “magnifique joyau”, “swing terrible”, “aisance suprême”, “exposés flamboyants”, feeling énorme”, etc. Eh bien, tous ces qualificatifs peuvent être employés sans retenue à propos du dernier Evan Christopher. Dès la première écoute, ce fut pour moi un éblouissement.

Quelle idée géniale de vouloir interpreter Django à la sauce louisianaise, antillaise et brésilienne et le tout sans oublier le swing et le blues… Toutes les qualités vantées dans mes precedents chroniques des CD d’Evan (avec Dick Hyman, J.Cl #49, avec Duke Heitger, J.Cl #28-34-47), explosent dans le présent enregistrement. Evan est réellement “le” clarinettiste #1 sur la scène actuelle du jazz et je pense que, dans l’histoire du jazz, il figurera parmi les plus grands de tous les temps.

David Blenkhorn a maintenànt atteint une réelle maturité et une grande aisance. Je me demande combien d’heures il a passé à écouter et réécouter les enregistrements de Django car, sans jamais le copier, il montre ici qu’il a tout compris du jazz du génial Django et nous l’évoque de façon magistrale. Dave Kelbie a une grande expérience de son travail de guitare rythmique. En effet, il a depuis plus de 20 ans eu l’occasion de jouer avec des pointures comme Fapy Lafertin, Bireli Lagrene ou Angelo Debarre. Il démontre ici sa discrète efficacité. Signalons aussi qu’il est le manager de Lejazzetal et le producteur de ce CD. Enfin, notre Sébastien national est lui aussi parfait tout au long du disque.

Lorsque les thèmes interprétés ici ne sont pas des compositions de Django, ce sont des themes enregistrés par lui: Low Cotton et I know that you know en 1939 en compagnie de Rex Stewart et Barney Bigard, Farewell Blues avec Benny Carter en 1938, Insensiblement avec Hubert Rostaing en 1947. Chaque interprétation mériterait d’être disséquée en détail tant il y a dans chacune d’elle des trésors de subtilité, de swing et de sentiments. Par son tempo, son ambience, son inspiration, son rhythme, chaque morceau diffère du précédent et du suivant, ce qui donne 50 minutes de superbe jazz que l’on écoute sans un seul instant de lassitude. Evan est non seulement un instrumentiste hors pair, un jazzman superbe mais aussi un arrangeur subtil et un “chef” d’orchestre exigeant. Le résultat est là: une très très belle réussite.
JEAN-MARIE HUREL


Jazz Classique FRANCE
10.10.2008 – Django à la Créole – english

Often, in jazz reviews, one reads comments that are sometimes fair – such as: “absolutely marvelous,” “a true feast,” “a magnificient jewel,” “great swing”, “flamboyant,” “enormous feeling” etc. Well, all these may be used without a doubt about this last album by Evan Christopher.

From the first listen, one thing was clearly evident for me. What a great idea to interpret Django with the flavors of New Orleans, the Caribbean, and Brazi,l and without forgetting swing and blues. All these qualities mentioned in my former articles of Evan’s CD’s (with Dick Hyman no. 49, Duke Heitger no. 28, 34,47) literally explode in this new recording. Evan is truly THE #1 clarinetist on the current jazz scene and I think that, in the history of jazz, he will be amidst the greatest of all times. David Blenkhorn has now reached a real maturity and a great effortlessness. I wonder how many hours he has spent listening and listening again Django’s recordings because, without ever copying him, he shows here that he has understood everything about the brilliant Django and evokes this for us in a masterly way. Dave Kelbie has a lot of experience with his rhythmic guitar playing. Indeed, he has, for more than 20 years, played with some big names like Fapy Lafertin, Bireli Lagrene or Angelo Debarre. He shows here his subtle effectiveness. He is also the manager of LeJazzetal and the producer of this CD. Finally, our French national Sebastien Girardot is also perfect all through the disc.

When the interpreted themes are not Django’s compositions, they are themes he recorded. (“Low Cotton” and “I Know That You Know” in 1939 in the company of Rex Stewart and Barney Bigard, and “Farewell Blues” recorded in 1938 with Benny Carter) Each interpretation will deserve analysis in more detail, as there are in each one subtle treasures of swing and emotion. With its tempo, it’s atmosphere, its inspiration, its rhtythm, each track differs from the preceding and following one, giving 50 min of superb jazz that one listens without a single moment of lassitude. Evan is not only a unique instrumentalist, a superb jazzman but also a subtle arranger and demanding bandleader.

The result is a very, very beautiful success.
JEAN-MARIE HUREL


Wall Street Journal USA
13.09.2008 – Django à la Créole

Clarinetist Evan Christopher, a California native, moved to New Orleans in 1994. In his frequent duets with Tom McDermott, and as a standout member of trumpeter Irvin Mayfield’s New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, his erudite and personalized approach to traditional jazz commands attention. After Katrina, Mr. Christopher relocated to Paris for two years. There, he formed two new bands: Django à la Créole, featured on this CD, revisits the storied Hot Club band co-founded by guitarist Django Reinhardt, distilling and emphasizing that music’s New Orleans elements. Mr. Christopher draws particular inspiration from Mr. Reinhardt’s work with clarinetists, including Ellington sideman and New Orleans native Barney Bigard.

Beginning with the habanera beat dancing beneath “Douce Ambience,” the bass and rhythm guitar of Mr. Christopher’s drummerless quartet announce a strong rhythmic emphasis. But it’s Mr. Christopher’s finely calibrated control — his fluid lines, piercing high notes, and exquisite quiver of vibrato — and his rapport with the equally expressive guitarist Dave Blenkhorn that steal the show. This is repertory music of the best kind: informed by sincere study, yet never derivative; playful, more so than reverent; aimed at extending, not rehashing, a legacy.
LARRY BLUMENFELD


Etudes Tsiganes FRANCE
01.09.2008 – Django à la créole – english

New production of the British label directed by Dave Kelbie, here on guitar. Forced to leave New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, clarinetist Evan Christopher, a specialist in the musics of Louisiana, created the group Django à la Créole in France with Dave Kelbie and the Australian David Blenkhorn on guitars and the French bassist Sebastien Girardot. The group’s name explains everything: A retake, Django in a Creole fashion, so to speak, with influences of New Orleans but also Brazil and the Caribbean. The quite convincing syncopated new version of Douce Ambiance, which opens the disc, sets the tone. These original arrangements, such as Dinette as a cha-cha-cha, Melodie au Crepuscule with Brazilian accents, and the slightly Cuban air of Nuages, bring a welcome freshness to a repertoire of standards whose countless versions are often interchangeable. We recall that in 1939 Django recorded a few songs with Rex Stewart and Barney Bigard, both sidemen with Duke Ellington’s orchestra. Evan Christopher takes two titles from this meeting, Low Cotton and I Know That You Know. Also very Swinging and propulsed by a solid rhythm isFarewell Blues recorded in 1938 by the famous Gypsy with Benny Carter.

Christopher’s style places him in the New Orleans tradition of early clarinet masters like Sidney Bechet or Barney Bigard. Dave Kelbie has accompanied Fapy Lafertin and plays regularly with Angelo Debarre, an excellent schooling! Is it he who takes the guitar solos, clear and inspired, like Fapy combining poetry and serenity? It is not specified. The group is quite convincing in any case, both at quick tempos and on the ballads: a Bolero version of Manoir de mes Reves or Insensiblement, both of an exceptional musicality.

Here then is a personal and clever hommage to Django. One of the best discs released this year in this style. A compelling recording and “an urgent listent”
FRANCIS COUVREUX


Etudes Tsiganes FRANCE
01.09.2008 – Django à la créole – french

Nouvelle production du label anglais dirigé par le guitariste Dave Kelbie, ici à la guitare. Forcé de quitter la Nouvelle Orléans après le passage de Katerina en 2005, le clarinettiste Evan Christopher, spécialiste des musiques de Louisiane, crée en France le groupe Django à la créole avec Dave Kelbie et l’australien Dave Blenkhorn aux guitares et le français Sébastien Girardot à la contrebasse. Le nom du groupe est tout à fait explicite : reprendre Django façon créole c’est-à-dire en le mâtinant d’influences New-Orléans mais aussi brésiliennes et caribéennes. La relecture syncopée tout à fait convaincante de ” Douce ambiance ” qui ouvre le disque donne le ton. Ces arrangements originaux (cf. ” Dinette ” en cha-cha, les accents brésiliens de ” Mélodie au crépuscule ” et le petit air cubain de ” nuages “) apportent une fraîcheur bienvenue à un répertoire de standards dont les innombrables versions sont souvent interchangeables. Rappelons qu’en 1939 Django enregistra quelques morceaux avec Rex Stewart et Barney Bigard (clarinette), tous deux musiciens de l’orchestre d’Ellington. Evan Christopher reprend 2 titres issus de cette séance, ” Low cotton ” et ” I know that you know “, swinguant à souhait, propulsé par une pompe d’enfer, ainsi que ” Farewell blues ” enregistré en 38 par l’illustre manouche en compagnie de Benny Carter. Son style s’inscrit dans la tradition du style New-Orléans des premiers maîtres de la clarinette comme S. Bechet ou B. Bigard ; Dave Kelbie a accompagné un temps Fapy Lafertin et joue régulièrement avec Angélo ; une excellente école ! Est-ce lui qui prend les chorus de guitares, limpides et inspirés, conjuguant à la manière d’un Fapy, sérénité et poésie ? Ce n’est pas précisé. Un groupe tout à fait convaincant en tous cas, tant sur tempo vif que sur les ballades (cf. ” Manoir de mes rêves ” version boléro ou ” Insensiblement ” tous deux d’une musicalité exceptionnelle). Voilà une manière personnelle et intelligente de rendre hommage à Django Reinhardt. L’un des plus beaux disques parus cette année dans le style. A écouter de toute urgence !
FRANCIS COUVREUX


Jazzman FRANCE
25.06.2008 – Django à la Créole – english

Clarinetist Evan Christopher is one of the best musicians currently expressing himself in the New Orleans style learnt from the best sources. In this recording, he applied the homegrown recipes of this Crescent City musical gumbo to the work of Django Reinhardt whom he clearly admires profoundly. This approach is less surprising than it first appears because the guitarist had already recorded with the clarinetist Barney Bigard, himself a New Orleans native, and one who’s recordings remain celebrated. Not forgetting the fact that the clarinetist Hubert Rostaing was his sideman for a long time. The supplementary interest in this endeavor stems from the way the habanera influence etc, which according to Jelly Roll Morton is essential to a successful approach to interpretation of jazz music, marries itself so well with the repertory of Django Reinhardt. To convince oneself of this you only have to listen to how naturally the contours of Douce Ambiance lean so well on the distilled Caribbean grooves of the rhythm section. Other climates are also evoked with the bolero-like Manoir de mes Reves and Melodie au Crepuscule which “crepite” like a samba. Evan Christopher knows how to get a great sound out of his clarinet. He exposes his melodic lines with authority and his warm creamy sound all but makes the charm of Rex Stewarts’s composition Low Cotton. The group generates a remarkably cohesive and constant swing, in particular in Farewell Blues which finishes in “apotheose”. A swing that also inspires indispensable accomplice Dave Blenkhorn’s interventions.
A spicey revisit.
Alain Tomas


Jazzman FRANCE
25.06.2008 – Django à la Créole – french
****

Le clarinettiste Evan Christopher est l’un des meilleurs musicians actuels s’exprimant dans le style Nouvelle-Orléans qu’il a appris aux meilleures sources. Dans ce disque, il appliqué les recettes toniques du gumbo musical de la Cité du Croissant à l’oeuvre de Django Reinhardt qu’il admire profondement. Cette démarche est moins surprenante qu’il n’y paraît puisque le guitariste avait enregistré avec le clarinettiste Barney Bigard, un natif de La Nouvelle-Orléans, des faces restées fameuses. Sans oublier le fait que Hubert Rostaing fut longtemps son partenaire. L’intérêt supplémentaire de cette réalization réside en la façon don’t la touché habanera qui, selon Jelly Roll Morton, est indispensable à la réussite d’une interprétation de jazz, se marie avec le répertoire de Django Reinhardt. Pour s’en convaincre, il suffit d’écouter avec quell naturel les contours de la mélodie de Douce Ambiance exposée par Evan Christopher s’appuient sur les rythmes des Caraïbes distillés par la section rythmique. D’autres climates sont évoqués avec Manoir de mes rêves et son ambiance bolero ou Mélodie au crépuscule qui crépite comme une samba. Evan Christopher sait faire sonner sa clarinette et expose rune ligne mélodique avec autorité. Sa sonorite, chaude et veloutée, fait tout le charme de Low Cotton, la composition de Rex Stewart. La cohésion de l’orchestre est remarquable et génère un swing constant, en particulier dans Farewell Blues qui se termine en apothéose. Un swing qui éclaire aussi les interventions de Dave Blenkhorn, indispensable partenaire et complice. Une relecture épicée.
ALAIN TOMAS


Hotclub News GERMANY
13.06.2008 – Django à la Créole – german

Dave Kelbie, der rührige Gitarrist, Labelbetreiber und Organisator steckt hinter dieser höchst interessanten Produktion. Dave hat wieder ein sehr gutes Händchen bewiesen. Nach seiner Zusammenarbeit mit Fapy Lafertin, Angelo Debarre, Lollo Meier und vielen anderen Größen, die jeweils in tollen CD-Produktionen mündeten (die zum Teil auch bei HCN zu erwerben sind), featured er auf seiner jüngsten Produktion Evan Christopher, einen amerikanischen Klarinettisten, der sein Instrument im alten New- Orleans-Stil bläst. Zusammen mit dem französischen Bassisten Sebastien Girardot und dem australischen Gitarristen Dave Blenkhorn begleitet er die Klarinette auf eine Art und Weise als Läge nicht ein Ozean zwischen zwischen Gypsy Swing und New Orleans Jazz. Das Experiment ist geglückt. Und wie. Douce Ambinace, Dinette oder Manoir de mes reves um nur drei Titel zu nennen kommen in ganz neuem Soundkleid daher, klingen neu, frisch und höchst originell. Der größte Teil der Titel entstammt dem Djangorepertoire, drei Nummern sind eher dem New Orleansreperoire (Farewell Blues, I know that you know, Low Cotton) zuzuordnen.

Ein Bravo für diese Produktion. Einfach fantastisch, wie es klingt, wenn zwei alte, ehrwürdige Musiktraditionen zusammengeführt werden.
BERNHARD GIERSTL


Hotclub News GERMANY
13.06.2008 – Django à la Créole – english

Dave Kelbie, the energetic guitarist, record label manager and organiser, is the mover behind this highly interesting production. Dave has again proved that he has a deft hand. His previous collaborations have included working with Lafertin, Angelo Debarre, Lollo Meier and many other greats – each of which ended in a great CD (some of which can be purchased at HCN). This newest production features Evan Christopher, an American clarinettist who plays his instrument in the old New Orleans style. Dave accompanies the clarinet with French bassist Sebastien Girardot and Australian guitarist Dave Blenkhorn in a way as if there wasn’t an ocean between Gypsy Swing and New Orleans jazz. The experiment is a success! Douce Ambiance, Dinette or Manoir de mes reves, to mention but three tracks, come sasheing along dressed in completely new outfits – sounding new, fresh and highly original. The majority of this title is taken from the Django repertoire. A big ‘bravo’ for this production. Just fantastic to hear what it sounds like, when two venerable old music traditions are brought together.
BERNHARD GIERSTLl


Djangostation FRANCE
23.05.2008 – Django à la Créole – english

What an interesting initiative this little disc is from the english production company Lejazzetal. Redo Django’s music in a creole style?? Wow, what a happy and welcome idea as spring and the sun are making their first visits into France.

Evan Christopher is one of the numerous New Orleans musicians forced to expatriate himself following the catastrophic floods of August 2005. While in France, this brilliant clarinetist,who specializes in the musicial styles of Louisiana (New Orleans, Creole, Cajun and Zydeco) never lost a beat, because between concerts, conferences and master classes, he put bands together. The most recent being Django à la Créole which has one simple goal : spice up Hot Club music with new orleans, blues and creole influences.

To achieve this, Evan Christopher and his Australian guitarist Dave Blenkhorn first studied the early collaborations between Django Reinhardt and the American musicians, especially the New Orleans clarinetists. How can one not look back fondly on the superb and beautiful sides recorded in 1939 with Rex Steward and Barney Bigard, both sidemen in the Duke Ellington band. Evan Christopher revisits two songs from these legendary recordings, Low cotton and I know that you know. Also on the program, the quintessentially new orleans tune Farewell Blues, that was recorded in 38 by the wonderful gypsy, this time accompanied by Benny Carter. Insensiblement, Misraki’s magnificent ballad, which is played here with a remarkable sweetness in the lower register of the clarinet. The rest of the repertoire is pure Reinhart but with refreshing arrangements reminiscent of Cuba, the Caribbean and Brazil ; Dinette as a cha-cha, Manoir de mes rêves as a bolero, while Nuages takes us on a trip to Havana and Mélodie au crépuscule to Rio de Janeiro ! Finally, the exceptional syncopated version of Douce Ambiance which opens the album helps us to dive into an amazing climate of tension never heard before. What a beautiful success!!
SEBASTIEN LEGE


Djangostation FRANCE
23.05.2008 – Django à la Créole – french

Intéressante initiative que ce petit disque issu des productions anglaises Lejazzetal de Dave Kelbie. Reprendre du Django façon créole ? Diable, heureuse et bienvenue idée à l’heure où le soleil pointe enfin le bout de son nez par chez nous !
Evan Christopher fait partie de ces très nombreux musiciens de la Nouvelle Orléans forcé de s’expatrier face aux catastrophiques inondations d’août 2005. En séjour forcé en France, ce brillant clarinettiste spécialiste des musiques de Louisiane, New Orleans, créole, cajun et autres zydeco ne perd pas son temps puisqu’entre concerts, conférences et master-class, il crée plusieurs groupe dont ce Django à la Créole au projet assez simple : pimenter la musique du Hot Club d’influence new orleans, blues et créole.
Pour cela, Evan Christopher et son guitariste australien Dave Blenkhorn ont d’abord réécouté les échanges de Django Reinhardt avec les musiciens américains, notamment celles avec les clarinettistes new orleans ; à ce titre, impossible d’ignorer les superbes et lumineuses faces de 1939 gravées en compagnie du cornettiste Rex Stewart et du clarinettiste Barney Bigard, tous deux sidemen de Duke Ellington. Evan Christopher reprend d’ailleurs deux titres, Low cotton et I know that you know issus de cette légendaire séance. Au programme également, le typiquement new orleans Farewell blues déjà enregistré en 38 par le génial manouche en compagnie de Benny Carter, et Insensiblement magnifique ballade de Misraki pris ici avec une remarquable douceur dans le registre grave de la clarinette. Le reste du répertoire est reinhardtien, mais dans des arrangements rafraichissants évoquant Cuba, les Caraïbes ou le Brésil : Dinette est pris en cha-cha, Manoir de mes rêves en boléro, tandis que Nuages nous transporte à La Havane et Mélodie au crépuscule à Rio de Janeiro ! Enfin, l’exceptionnelle relecture syncopée de Douce ambiance qui ouvre l’album nous plonge dans un stupéfiant climat de tension tout à fait inédit…

Une très belle réussite !
SEBASTIEN LEGE


The Observer UK
04.05.2008 – Django à la Créole

As ‘fusion’ projects go, this looks a bit unlikely at first glance. Fiery European Gypsy jazz and the limpid Creole clarinet style of New Orleans may not seem like natural bedfellows, but the result is enchanting. Clarinettist Evan Christopher has been winning awards since the age of 11. His tone is gorgeously light and fluffy and he creates sparkling improvisations, while guitarists Dave Blenkhorn and Dave Kelbie and bassist Sebastien Girardot supply spirited accompaniment. Django Reinhardt’s tunes have rarely been more sensitively played, and old warhorses like ‘Farewell Blues’ sound fresh and new.
DAVE GELLY


The Times UK
04.05.2008 – Django à la Créole
****

It’s only a matter of months ago that the thirtysomething New Orleans clarinet revivalist Evan Christopher set out his wares on Delta Bound. His latest outing turns out to be an equally confident mixture of Crescent City passion and je ne sais quoi. Christopher possesses a ravishing tone and receives unfailingly crisp support from the double-bassist Sebastien Girardot and guitarists Dave Blenkhorn and Dave Kelbie. Even that old Reinhardt standby Nuages sounds fresh, the rhythm section dancing a gentle beguine in the background. And Christopher shifts gear into Benny Goodmanesque swing on the ultra-brisk I Know That You Know. Timeless stuff.
CLIVE DAVIS


The Scotsman UK
20.04.2008 – Django A La Creole
****

CDs invoking the memory of the great gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and his recorded output are ten a penny, but this one has star quality in the shape of the charismatic and flamboyant American clarinettist Evan Christopher – a favourite at recent Edinburgh and Nairn festivals. With an international, Reinhardt-style trio (Australian Dave Blenkhorn and Briton Dave Kelbie on guitars and Frenchman Sebastien Giradot on bass), Christopher serves up his exuberant and passionate interpretations of mainly Djangly numbers.
ALISON KERR