Evan Christopher s concerts during the 2015 JazzFest season were advertised with the byline, Clarinet Road: Because not everyone wants to, Hear Somebody Scream. Indeed, the live tracks of Bayou Chant & Other Textures reflect Christopher s the intimate, acoustic setting of Luthjen s Dance Hall in the Faubourg Marigny. Christopher describes the pieces as vignettes or stories of contemporary New Orleans narrated by the soulful Creole clarinet that developed its vocabulary there.
The first two evenings recorded were duo settings with piano virtuosos Joe Ashlar and David Torkanowsky, respectively. The third night was a trio experiment with Brian Seeger on guitars and bassist Roland Guerin. The material was a mix of classics and originals, although the selections chosen for this CD were composed by Christopher with the exception of Father, a gospel waltz penned by Brian Seeger and Steady Flow by Roland Guerin.
The result feels somewhat like a Clarinet Road concert experience and evokes indigenous New Orleans traditions such as the Mardi Gras Indians, funerals with music and, of course, sonic glimpses of the great clarinetists associated with traditional New Orleans music, including Sidney Bechet, Barney Bigard and Omer Simeon. In an article for Jazziz magazine (Sept. 2016), NYC journalist and NOLA-phile Larry Blumenfeld offers a preview of the CD noting the rendition of Waltz for All Souls, in particular.