Preview: Django à la Créole in the UK

New Orleans clarinettist Evan Christopher investigates Django Reinhardt's collaborations with American musicians in an extensive October tour

Evan Christopher's Django à la Créole, which takes its inspiration from legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt's collaborations with American musicians including clarinettists Frank "Big Boy" Goudie and Duke Ellington sideman Barney Bigard, will play concerts in Wales and England, as well as two dates in Paris, from 1 to 18 October. The tour culminates in a gig at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club.

Christopher (pictured right) formed the band in Paris during a residency funded by an American programme, French-American Cultural Exchange. The clarinettist moved to Paris from his adopted home of New Orleans in 2005, after he was one of many musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

According to Christopher (speaking to Nigel Jarrett for a profile to be published in the October issue of Jazz Journal) "...the Django sides with Bigard are our main inspiration. One of the trademarks of the group is to make the spirit of the clarinet and guitar very interactive, like the collective improvisation of traditional New Orleans music." Django à la Créole incorporates jazz influences but Christopher is keen to point out that "...we’re more devoted to encouraging appreciation of New Orleans music, especially the traditions from there that evolved into music we know as jazz.”

As well as Christopher, Django à la Créole features New Orleans guitarist Don Vappie, UK rhythm guitarist Dave Kelbie and Paris-based Australian bassist Sébastien Girardot. The band's recordings include Evan Christopher's Django à la Créole Live!, awarded a 5-star review in Jazz Journal July 2014, and Finesse, which was a 2010 Sunday Times Jazz Album of the Year.

Tour dates (all October):

01 Abergavenny 7.30 Borough Theatre 01873 850805
02 Bradford on Avon 7.30 Wiltshire Music Centre 01225 860100
03 Wolverhampton 7.30 Arena Theatre 01902 321321
04 Shrewsbury 8pm The Coffee House 01743 242610
06 Gateshead 8pm The Sage 0191 443 4661
07 Manchester 7.30 RNCM 0161 907 5555
08 Sheffield 8pm Yellow Arch Studios 07835 966810
09 Marsden 7.30 Marsden Jazz Festival 0845 519 4415
10 Paris 8pm Sunside Sunset 01 40 26 46 60
11 Paris 8pm Sunside Sunset 01 40 26 46 60
13 Stoke Row 8pm Crooked Billet 01491 681048
14 Eastleigh 8pm Concorde Club 023 8061 3989
16 Frant 8pm Frant Church 01892 750665
17 Chipping Norton 7.45 The Theatre 01608 642350
18 London 8pm Pizza Express Jazz Club 020 7439 4962

Further information about tour dates and ticket sales can be found at the Django à la Créole website.

Text by Bruce Lindsay photo by Ima Garmendia

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