For Our Jazz Heroes
“…an album of spirited and simpatico duets.” Nate Chinen, The New York Times
“With two young and inspired players like Messrs. Christopher and Yamin, the duet format is a perfect setting for making the legacy of traditional jazz—and songs older than their grandfathers—come alive” Wall Street Journal
“Yamin and Christopher look back to a time when jazz was alive with visceral sensation. This is the music of a day gone by, reinvigorated for a new generation. It honors the past, not by copying but by building on what had been done; everything old made new again. ” Jack Goodstein, Blogcritics.org
“Sheer beauty in a variety of moods and colors.” Donald Elfman, New York City Jazz Record
“Really terrific! Some of the most satisfying music I’ve heard in a long time… every track is just beautiful!” Ed Berger, co-author Benny Carter: A Life in American Music.
… Some albums just emanate the heart of Jazz so clearly that the appeal spans across the board. This is one of those albums.” Dave Sumner, emusic.com
From jazz clubs to concert halls and even the White House, the intuitive and invigorating spark Eli Yamin and Evan Christopher bring to the bandstand is always marked with passionate, dynamic interplay. They share a deep commitment to the enduring legacy and relevance of their heroes. Their debut CD, Louie’s Dream, for our jazz heroes, is the result of a 10-year artistic collaboration.
Eli Yamin is a jazz and blues pianist, producer, educator and Steinway artist. Raised in the bands of jazz masters Walter Perkins, Illinois Jacquet and Barry Harris, Eli’s exciting and imaginative piano playing has taken him and his groups around the world as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Department of State and has led him to perform and teach at the famed Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City as well as invited for a command performance at President Obama’s White House. Yamin co-founded The Jazz Drama Program, which inspires students, teachers and their communities through interactive experiences in the jazz arts—storytelling, music, theatre, dance and visual arts. Yamin’s compositions “A Healing Song,” about the healing power of the blues, and “Rwandan Child” about the wisdom of children, awaken a shared sense of humanity, love and joy in all audiences. Eli’s jazz musicals for children are performed around the world and licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide. His CDs are featured on Sirius XM and Jazz 88, WBGO in Newark. Recent releases present a wide range of creativity including Louie’s Dream, for our jazz heroes in duo with New Orleans based clarinetist Evan Christopher to I Feel So Glad with The Eli Yamin Blues Band, You Can’t Buy Swing featuring his jazz quartet as well as several educational and fun jazz musicals for children, Nora’s Ark with The Eli Yamin Jazz Quintet joined by the Grammy award winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Holding the Torch for Liberty, the jazz musical about the women’s suffrage movement. In addition to his work with The Jazz Drama Program, Eli is a training specialist at Jazz at Lincoln Center and head of instruction at the Middle School Jazz Academy. Eli teaches jazz worldwide to business leaders, middle school students, K-12 teachers, college professors and performing artists and feels that “teaching and learning jazz should feel as creative as playing it.”
Clarinetist, Evan Christopher combines virtuosity, immaculate taste, and enthusiasm with a deep commitment to exploring the full range of possibilities in the New Orleans Jazz tradition. Anchored in the musical vocabulary created by early Creole clarinetists he has created a highly personal brand of “contemporary early-jazz” that strives to extend the legacy of this unique clarinet style. Graduating from California State University, Long Beach, he left his native California to join the historic and important music community in New Orleans. In 1996, he was invited to join the Jim Cullum Jazz Band in San Antonio, Texas. Around 2000 he returned to New Orleans but when the Federal levees failed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, he began a period of continuous travel including an artist residency in Paris at the invitation of the French government. He formed his current groups, the JazzTraditions Project and Django à la Créole. The latter, fusing Gypsy Swing with New Orleans grooves and rhythms of le monde Créole, released their debut CD, Django à la Créole in 2008. Their second outing, Finesse (Frémeaux & Associés), was chosen for best jazz CD of 2010 in the Sunday Times, UK. Based once again in New Orleans since 2008, Christopher is an advocate for the cultural workforce and music education. He coached a New Orleans Music Ensemble at the University of New Orleans and in 2011 he began writing a popular column, “Riffing On the Tradition,” for NolaVie.com to discuss concerns of the New Orleans music community. Besides his own “Clarinet Road” series of CDs (STR Digital), he has recorded alongside New Orleans artists including Big Al Carson, Duke Heitger, Narvin Kimball, Uncle Lionel Battiste, and Tom McDermott. He appears often with the Grammy-winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and is a charter member of jazz composer guild, NOLA ArtHouse Music and appears on the HBO series, Treme.
Louie’s Dream (Louis Armstrong, Marty Napoleon) for Louis Armstrong
The Mooche (Duke Ellington) For Barney Bigard and the Ellingtonians
You Gotta Treat it Gentle (Evan Christopher) For Sidney Bechet
It’s the Way That You Talk (Eli Yamin, Clifford Carlson) from Holding the Torch for Liberty, the jazz musical about women’s suffrage
Don’t Go Back On Your Raisin’ (Eli Yamin, Clifford Carlson) from Holding the Torch for Liberty
What’s Your Story Morning Glory? (Mary Lou Williams) For Mary Lou Williams
Baraka 75 (Eli Yamin) For Amiri Baraka
Azalea (Duke Ellington) For Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington
My Jazz Hero, a poem by Eli Yamin
Let His Love Take Me Higher (Eli Yamin, Evan Christopher) For Mahalia Jackson
Impromptu (Evan Christopher) For John Coltrane
Dancers in Love (Duke Ellington) For Mercedes Ellington
Louie’s Dream Reprise (Louis Armstrong, Marty Napolean)