Well tonight we've been to our first event as part of the Belfast Festival at Queen's. We saw Evan Christopher, a clarinettist from America who played some phenomenal creole-style jazz from New Orleans. You can catch some of his stuff on YouTube here and here, and I encourage anyone with an interest in jazz, or any reeds player to have a look.
He is an exceptional player, but also a really charismatic performer who clearly knows his stuff, and told the audience many stories filled with his passion of creole music and Django Reinhardt. On the musical front it was great to see such close interaction between him and his band (a wonderful combination of guitar, rhythm guitar, double bass and clarinet).
Lots of solos were crafted beautifully but although they were complex and challenging, they still maintained the New Orleans style and never strayed too far into unfamiliar territory.
We got the feeling they had rehearsed every piece down to the last detail, but speaking to them after the gig, this definitely wasn't the case! They are a really down-to-earth group of musicians touring for the release of their second album, and the night was superb. We were delighted we went to see something we ordinarily wouldn't have.
And we even managed to speak to Evan himself about some nerdy clarinet talk (he uses an Albert-system Selmer!). What more could you want from a night out...?