From jazz clubs to concert halls and even the White House, the intuitive and playful spark they bring to the bandstand is always marked with passion and dynamic interplay. Yamin and Christopher share a deep commitment to celebrating the enduring legacy and relevance of the greats who inspire them. Yet, even though aural glimpses of their heroes are evident, their dedication to their own personal voices is abundant in this collection of thoughtfully chosen songs.
Louie’s Dream, is a song recorded only one other time by Louis Armstrong with co-composer Marty Napoleon on piano, the last surviving member of the Armstrong All-Stars. Other selections include The Mooche for Barney Bigard and the Ellingtonians, What’s Your Story Morning Glory? for Mary Lou Williams, Baraka 75, a spiky Yamin original dedicated to poet/activist Amiri Baraka, and You Gotta Treat It Gentle, Christopher’s bluesy ballad for Sidney Bechet. Two songs from Yamin’s jazz musical about women’s suffrage, "Holding the Torch for Liberty, are also featured. The New Orleans flavored It’s the Way That You Talk and the heartstring-pulling ballad, Don’t Go Back On Your Raisin'. Two Ellington rarities, Azalea and Dancers in Love round out the collection.
Label-Yamin Music LLC, co-sponsored by The Jazz Drama Program, a non-profit 501-c3 corporation, inspiring students and teachers with interactive experiences in the jazz arts—storytelling, music, theatre, dance and visual arts.
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 uplifts 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, from revisiting the classics in I Feel So Glad with The Eli Yamin Blues Band reworking of “Hound Dog” and “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,” and Eli’s anthem, “A Healing Song” to 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 Eli’s latestHolding 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.
Christopher's journey on Clarinet Road began in 1994 when, upon graduating from California State University, Long Beach, he left his native California for New Orleans. In this important and historic music community, he embraced diverse work before leaving in 1996 to join the Jim Cullum Jazz Band in San Antonio, Texas. Around 2000, published research on the New Orleans clarinet style allowed his return to pursue a Masters degree in Musicology at Tulane University. But when the Federal levees failed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August, 2005, he left again for a period of continuous travel including an artist residency in Paris at the invitation of the French government.
Back in New Orleans since 2008, Christopher is an advocate for the cultural workforce and music education. For two years, 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 projects, he appears often with forward-looking groups such as the Grammy-winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and is a charter member of jazz composer guild, NOLA ArtHouse Music.