Notes From Evan Christopher:
This CD was recorded when Chris Dawson, my best friend in University, wanted to document two songs we had written together. The cost of paying a band and booking studio time for two tracks wasn't much less than for twenty, and so we went for twenty. It was never a working band, but it was a wonderful opportunity to hang out with the great Jack Sheldon who had always been kind to me. We also brought in Larance Marable for a few tracks. What an honor to work with old-school pros who knew and worked with innovators such as Bird, Chet Baker, & Dexter Gordon. The company of Tierney Sutton before she became one of the most in-demand vocalists in the business as well as two of the busiest cats on the jazz scene, Darek Oles and Kendall Kay, made for some great tracks.
My favorite nine tracks shared the theme of romance. Not quite enough for a CD, I rounded the material out with the Jimmy Rowles classic, The Peacocks. Our version was more inspired by a version Jimmy recorded with Gary Foster than the more famous one with Stan Getz. In college in the early 90's, Chris and I used to go to hear Jimmy play solo and duo at a restaurant called Linda's. I'll never forget the day he gave us some advice between songs. He said, "So, you want to be musicians?" Expecting anecdotes about Lester Young or Billie Holiday, we were thrilled. Instead, right there in the restaurant, he unzipped his pullover, showed us his bypass scar and said, "If you want to be musicians, ...Don't smoke!"
I brought the tracks back to New Orleans and shared them with Sandy Hinderlie for his local label, STR Digital. He thought they were strong but we sat on them so I could release a CD of more traditional material first. That CD was Clarinet Road Volume I, then we finished this production CD around 2003. Like many of my recordings, it has a "chamber-jazz" feel that seems to be my preferred persona in the studio. People who hear me live sometimes lament that recordings like this don't seem representative of my work, but I think the studio is a different forum in which it's rewarding to emphasize the subtleties, humor, intimacy, and sheer prettiness of music often lost in live gigs. Anyway, that's the side of "romance" I intended to underscore here. I even composed a sonnet in lieu of liner notes.