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13,508 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 926 of them this year alone and, so far, 90 this month (July 27).

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Album review: Evan Christopher & David Torkanowsky - Live at Luthjen's

Evan Christopher (clarinet); David Torkanowsky (piano).

Recorded live in New Orleans at what is described as "a historic venue" by a duo who pay homage without lip service to the music that began life Way Down Yonder in New Orleans which just happens to be the first track. Apart from the opening, out of tempo chorus, few would have recognised the tune so beloved of Dixie bands the world over which is no bad thing bringing, as it does, a refreshing vitality to the old warhorse.

Sid's Biz is one of four Christopher originals. A medium tempo blues it made me realise what a beautiful round tone he gets from his Improved Albert System Selmer clarinet. Every note blown hits the inside of the instrument and comes out with a rare warmth that's so fluid you can almost taste it.

Make me a Pallet on the Floor is one of those numbers that usually have the player inflicting a vocal chorus upon the listener. Not so, these two, they let the music speak for itself.

Rollin' the Jernt is another original by Christopher with Torkanowsky pounding away like James P. Bass? Drums? Who needs 'em?

The pianist provided Melody For Jaco. It is quite emotional. Jitterbug Waltz gets the fingers working as it invariably does albeit with a rubato section by the pianist that made for a brief cooling off period.

Christopher's Pouncing Around's a foot-tapper and it wouldn't surprise me if the more mobile members of the audience weren't shaking it about a bit - I know I was! 

Strayhorn's A Flower is a Lovesome Thing was suitably melancholic. Torkanowsky's Big Greaze wasn't - it swung to such an extent it almost rocked!

Valse Marignaise from Christopher's Faubourg Variations Suite brought this unpretentious, but immaculately presented, album to a close. 

An absolute gem.
Lance.

3 comments :

Patti said...

Lance! What label is the cd on, and when can we order it? Anything by these guys will be delightful, and this sounds wonderful. I have a few Evan Christopher cd's - on lejazzetal.

Lance said...

Same label lejazzetal.

Patti said...

Cheers, Lance! And I have to say, Evan's tone on the clarinet is so beautiful, warm, fluid, and just the right amount of earthy vibrato - quite reminiscent of Omer Simeon and others, so distinctively New Orleans-y.

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