Q&A with talented musician B. Christopher, Pennsylvania-based renowned television composer plays the Blues

"I honestly don’t listen to much new music. Most of the music I listen to is timeless. Maybe a young person wouldn’t feel that way when they hear an old Elmore James or Snooky Pryor album, but I sure do. I don’t have any fears in terms of music. My hope is that people continue to make great blues music."

B. Christopher: Snapshots From The Blues

Christopher, like most composers, is not a household name. However, if you own a television, you have probably heard his music. With over 3,000 placements annually, on virtually every channel, it would be difficult not to hear his work. Like most studio musicians, his time is consumed recording. That is not to say he is a stranger to the stage. He toured extensively throughout North America for twenty years. While on a break from the road in 2002, he was contacted by the music director of ABC's "All My Children" looking for blues music. According to Christopher, "it was just the right place at the right time." As the opportunities continued to grow in the studio, it became clear that the focus needed to move strictly to recording. Inevitably, the hundreds of sessions would evolve into albums. The balance between melody, technique, composition and improvisation is not an easy one to strike. But when listening to Christopher, one would think otherwise. With an innate sense of melody, his musical offerings are sure to please even the most discerning palate. It is these qualities that helped attract some of the biggest studio musicians in the business to his work.                  (Photo: B. Christopher)

Names like Nathan East, Anton Fig, Gerald Albright, Shawn Pelton, Michael Powers, Andy Snitzer, Stu Hamm, Kenny Aronoff, Bruce Katz, and Jerry Portnoy have all lent their talents to his recordings. It's been a steady evolution from the smoky blues clubs that shaped the soul of an extraordinary player into the polished session musician we hear today. In a world filled with talented musicians, there are a rare few that stand apart from the rest. For an artist to honestly tell their story, technical prowess is not enough. The real story is in the soul and conviction with which one tells it with. Christopher is one of the rare few that delivers the complete package. The B. Christopher Band's new 13 tracks electric blues album "Snapshots From The Second Floor" will be released on September 1st. Another "A List" lineup from the renowned television composer on this record including drum legend Anton Fig (Joe Bonamassa, David Letterman Band) and Studebaker John playing harp.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues/Jazz music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I would say that blues music has been the soundtrack of my life. I play a lot of styles of music in my line of work of television music, but the blues is what I always return to in recording as well as my personal listening.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

When it comes to playing I’m all about sincerity and authenticity. By authenticity I don’t mean that it needs to be traditional blues. I mean it in the sense that the recording needs to commit to the message that the musician is trying to convey. What I always here in great music is commitment.

The creative drive comes and goes. I simply don’t know how else to exist. When it comes the flood gates open. But when it’s run it’s course I tend to shut down for a bit and wait for it to show up again. It’s been like that me for 35 years.

"I would say that blues music has been the soundtrack of my life. I play a lot of styles of music in my line of work of television music, but the blues is what I always return to in recording as well as my personal listening.(Photo: B. Christopher)

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Meeting my guitar teacher at 17 years old was a monumental moment that definitely changed the trajectory of my life. Also working with guys like Anton Fig and Nathan East has really had impact on me. To play with musicians of that caliber is incredibly inspiring. The best musical advice I have ever received is to pay more attention to the phrasing. It’s all about the phrasing.

Are there any specific memories or highlights of your career that you would like to tell us about?!

I’ve had a great run in television music that has brought me into the recording environment with some of my favorite musicians. Working with people that I really admired in my formative years has meant the world to me.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I honestly don’t listen to much new music. Most of the music I listen to is timeless. Maybe a young person wouldn’t feel that way when they hear an old Elmore James or Snooky Pryor album, but I sure do. I don’t have any fears in terms of music. My hope is that people continue to make great blues music. Not a reinvention of it, but a fresh interpretation of the blues. Guys like Albert Collins and SRV didn’t change the formula, they were just so committed to their take on it. There’s a kid out there somewhere that is the real thing. I hope he makes some records that we can all enjoy.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?                                                  (Photo: B. Christopher)

The return of the infrastructure of the music business. Labels that invested in bands because there was a financial return. Without the financial return there will be so much unheard talent.

"The creative drive comes and goes. I simply don’t know how else to exist. When it comes the flood gates open. But when it’s run it’s course I tend to shut down for a bit and wait for it to show up again. It’s been like that me for 35 years."

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

I try to make a record that first and foremost I want to listen to. I think most artists are essentially doing that. We are all just trying to make a record that captures what we hear in our heads. Making blues records for me is an enjoyable tribute to the artists that inspired me to learn. If that resonates with some other people that would be great as well.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

1) What you get from music is a reflection of the effort you put into it.

2) Commit

3) Pay attention to ALL of the details. That’s where the great stuff lives.

B. Christopher Band - Home

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