Friday, January 13, 2017

"Gems By The Piano Giants"

Gems By The Piano Giants; Evan Christopher - Ehud Asherie Duo; Evan Christopher, clarinet; Ehud Asherie, piano
While we're on the subject of mesmerizing duos, try this on for size: Evan Christopher and Ehud Asherie are both New York monsters who love a rich melody---especially if it hails from the early or mid-twentieth century. Asherie, born in 1979, may well be the premier stride player of the modern era. While this is Asherie's specialty, he is completely at ease with bop, ballads, or anything contemporary. He certainly proved that in November 2016 to an overjoyed audience at Portland's Classic Pianos. Christopher is a new name to me but he caresses the clarinet with passion and always retains perfect control. Their chosen era is honored with gems by Mary Lou Williams, Hoagy Carmichael, Eubie Blake, Jelly Roll Morton, Teddy Wilson, Fats Waller and James P. Johnson among many others. If these two "peas in a pod" had never worked together, we'd have missed out on an album filled with charm, wit, melody and musicianship. Oh, before I lose sight of it, there are three very well delivered vocals here by Hilary Gardner. Her voice is ideal for the material and she never indulges in "flapper excess". But the album "belongs" to Christopher and Asherie. Hopefully there will be more such meetings in the future.

Self-produced; 2016; appx. 42 min.

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