Tony and Peter Chotem grew up surrounded by music and artists of various kinds. Their father, Neil Chotem, was one of Montreal's busiest musicians. He composed, arranged and played for Quebec's biggest stars including Quebec's most succcessful rock band: Harmonium. From their father, they learned the value of originality and the need to develop both as composers and as players. Their jazz sets stand out due to the large percentage of originals that are included. Another important lesson they learned from their father was the value of versatility and that there are no real boundaries in music. They are equally happy improvising to an ancient Celtic melody as to a 20th century blues standard. Last but not least, they learned the value of good arranging. Even familiar standards sparkle with fresh ideas and unexpected arrangements.
Double Helix consists of Tony Chotem who plays electric nylon string guitar, guitar synthesizer and electric guitar and Peter Chotem who plays acoustic guitar. Double Helix performs both as a duo and as a quartet. When performing as a quartet Tony and Peter draw on the many excellent bass players and drummers from the greater Vancouver area.
Phoenix Rising: Released in November 2007
Double Helix Live: Released in April 2000
Double Helix is currently being aired on JazzCity/ RadioNEO, which broadcasts on 95.5 in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Streaming Tracks: Mermel's Momment: Kanal Jazz
Phoenix :Kanal Jazz
I Never Sang: Kanal Jazz
I Never Sang: Indie 104-iRadio LA.
Double Helix; Uptown Jazz Network.
Mermel's Moment; One Life One Family Radio
Douible Helix was the runner up in Ropeadope Radio's 2009 Sonicbids Competition.
Double Helix was nominated in the "Best Jazz" category at the 2010 Barrie New Music Festival.
2010 Vancouver International Jazz Festival
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"Guitarist brothers Tony and Peter Chotem play lush original jazz. With tantalizing hints of rock, f..."Guitarist brothers Tony and Peter Chotem play lush original jazz. With tantalizing hints of rock, folk, Latin, and blues, their mix of acoustic and electric guitars is cool and inviting."
Sunday, November 28, 2010 / International Acoustic Music Awards
"excellent guitar playing - major Jazz Guitar licks and chops!"
Wednesday, December 2, 2010 / USA Songwriting Competition
"excellent guitar playing"
Review By John Pollard/ January 5th, 2012
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I kept trying to think of how to describe the unique sound that Double Helix offers listeners as I l...I kept trying to think of how to describe the unique sound that Double Helix offers listeners as I listened to the sounds coming from my speakers. I’d been listening for a couple weeks and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I thought, “I’ve heard all these sounds before.” The sounds were all good; everything was well-recorded with good equipment, and the mix was just right. The guitar playing and song writing was also very good. The brothers proved they were well versed in several genres. There was something, a single word, that I was searching for and I didn’t think it existed. I was about to pull my hair out trying to figure it out so I figured I’d just make up a word (this was while I was listening to “Mermel’s Moment”) when my wife walked up behind me, coffee in-hand and said to me, “It’s like Phish meets really good Jazz guitar.” That was it! These sounds are from different genres; different places on the musical map.
The tunes “Double Helix” and “I Never Sang” are great examples of a compilation of sounds from different places. There is classic guitar strumming and some auxiliary percussion, like something you might hear on an Eric Clapton acoustic cut. There is also something different here though. The guitar often plays unison melody lines with a synthesizer, something Clapton might not ever do. This gives the track a certain “Pat Methehy-ness.” World famous guitarist, Pat Metheny, does this quite a bit and has created a signature sound. I am in no way suggesting that Double Helix has ripped anything off because they use it differently; they have made it their own. The brothers Chotem cross the boundaries yet again in another original aptly named “Zoloph Spaceman”. Amid synthesizer tones that conjure up images of orbiting heavenly bodies and delicate acoustic sounds, Double Helix drops in a melody line on an overdrive guitar! Not what I was expecting, but it works. It all works. This is the dialogue in my head while listening to the tracks:Me: “Ouch. What was that? That doesn’t work.”
DH: “Come on man. Are you sure?”
Me: “Yes, quite sure. Well…”
DH: “Come on. It TOTALLY works” (reassuringly)
Me: “You’re right, Double Helix. It DOES work! Sounds great. Please carry on.” (insert smiley face here)
Just like that my opinion of Double Helix was transformed.
Perhaps this is the most obvious skill set of Double Helix; making it work and convincing the listener of what they are doing. It is the brothers’ originality that draws in the listener of what they are doing. They have successfully blended Rock, Jazz and some blues sounds. Tony and Peter Choetem are doing something that not a lot of guys are doing right now. They are blending the different things they like into one thing that we ALL will like, and as I said before, “It just works.”
Review by John Pollard
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X | 09/25/09 Anybody flip you a Double Helix- it was the most truest and the realest. The band came...X | 09/25/09
Anybody flip you a Double Helix- it was the most truest and the realest. The band came in second place in our sonic bids contest and some argue it could have been first. Listen up here. And stay tuned for more greatness soon. © 2009 Ropeadope LLC
Ross Christopher Review/January 2010
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Phoenix Rising - Double Helix If you're a fan of tasty jazz, then Canada's Double Helix will ple...Phoenix Rising - Double Helix
If you're a fan of tasty jazz, then Canada's Double Helix will please. Album opener, Bluesoph, is an easy listen with a great tremolo lead line. It pans back and forth and really keeps your attention. On Silver Mountain Temple, the acoustic guitar plays lead role in a more new age piece. Its complete with woodblocks and rain sticks (you can't go wrong there).
Zoloph Spaceman kicks off the track with harmonics galore. The guitar work is impressive and angular. Its songs like these that show an artists ability to play what's needed and leave out the extra. John Scofield would have a smile on this one - its truly a great work.
But perhaps their best work is on River Song. The acoustic interplay is intoxicating and is reminiscent of Tim Reynolds. The tones and playability earn serious bragging rights!
Pick up a copy of Phoenix Rising by Double Helix!
RATING: 4 of 5 stars
Music Uo Close/ October 2010
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Sitting with Steve Raybine are brother guitarists Tony and Peter Chotem who have been playing togeth...Sitting with Steve Raybine are brother guitarists Tony and Peter Chotem who have been playing together for thirty years. Hailing from North Vancouver, British Columbia, the brothers followed in their father’s musical footsteps. Neil Chotem was one of Montreal’s most sought after musicians, composers, and arrangers, having worked with one of Quebec’s most successful rock bands, Harmonium. Branching out into jazz, Tony and Peter improvised around jazz standards and even Celtic tunes while also writing original music. Tony plays electric nylon string guitar, guitar synthesizer, and electric guitar and Peter Chotem plays acoustic guitar. Performing under the name Double Helix, the brothers’ live appearances can be either as a duo and as a quartet, using bass players and drummers from the greater Vancouver area. They have two CDs: Double Helix Live (2000) and Phoenix Rising (2007). Douible Helix was the runner up in Ropeadope Radio’s 2009 Sonicbids Competition.
New Music Spotlight July 2010
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Published: July 6, 2010 11:29 PM EST By: Isaac Davis Jr., MBA (Juniorscave.com) New Music Spotl...Published: July 6, 2010 11:29 PM EST
By: Isaac Davis Jr., MBA
New Music Spotlight
July 2010 Edition
Music Now Artist/Band Spotlight Weekly Series
INTERVIEW BETWEEN ISAAC DAVIS, Jr. AND DOUBLE HELIX took place around late spring of this year via online. The two brother act known as Double Helix are creating a nice stir in the music industry. Here is what the brothers had to reveal about their music in this special spotlight.
Isaac: I just listened to several songs off your new EP/CD. What was the inspiration for making your new album?
Peter Chotem/Double Helix: Initially, it was to create demos that gave a good representation of what we were doing. But, as we spent more and more time arranging, bringing great musicians in, and mixing, it started to develop its own identity as an album. Tony’s scheme for the order of the songs completed that identity.
Isaac: Who were your influences?
Tony Chotem/Double Helix: We’re brothers and we grew up in a musical family, so our first big influence was our dad. He was a piano virtuoso and a very successful composer/arranger. From him, we learned that you have to practice, and that there are no real boundaries in music. We also learned how important it is to develop as composers, as well as, players.
I had a strong classical influence and, for Peter, it was folk and country rock. But, we would always jam, and blues was our convergence point. We were both very influenced by the late sixties blues revival, both by American artists, like Paul Butterfield, and, of course, by the British invasion blues artists like Eric Clapton, the Yardbirds and the Animals. Later, as we developed as a jazz ensemble, Pat Metheny, Ralph Towner, John McLaughlin, and so many others became huge influences.
Isaac: What do you consider to have been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?
Tony Chotem/Double Helix: A recent highlight was being selected to play at the Orion Independent Music Festival in Salt Lake City in January 2010. It was our first festival outside of British Columbia, and was a big and exciting step for us, especially as we were very well received there.
Another highlight was the release of our album, Phoenix Rising in November 2007. Some of the tracks were tunes we had played together for a very long time, and it was stressful but very exciting to have a recording of them that we were happy with.
The lowpoint for us as a musical team was a fairly long period of time when we were not playing, writing or performing together. During most of that period, we were geographically separated by about 3,000 miles, which is fortunately no longer the case.
Isaac: Brief history about your background plus the style of music you play.
Peter Chotem/Double Helix: As Double Helix has shifted back and forth between being a duo, a trio, and a quartet, Tony and I have been lucky to work with some excellent bassists, drummers, and singers. These musicians have had a substantial influence, not only on the style and intensity of the band, but also on Tony and myself as musicians. Tony brings to Double Helix his studies of classical guitar, jazz, rock, and his interest in composition. Writing is also an interest of mine, as are music history, and contemporary jazz and classical music. Our style has been called “Folk Jazz”, which perhaps reflects what we hope to be; open to many styles. Tony’s and my approaches are different, and we like to listen closely and play off the contrasts that we hear.
Isaac: How easy is it to gets gigs for you as an artist? What is the live music scene like in your area?
Tony Chotem/Double Helix: While Vancouver has a lively and healthy live music scene, it is not as easy to find gigs as we would like. There are different reasons for this. First, it is always harder for jazz musicians to find an audience. Secondly, Vancouver jazz audiences seem to fall into two main camps, either very traditional or very avant garde, neither of which we fall into. Our music is quite contemporary and fused with pop, blues and rock.
Isaac: What do you think of the state of Indie music at the moment? Do you listen to radio much at all? Has the Internet helped music grow or hindered it in your opinion?
Peter Chotem/Double Helix: I think the emergence of Indie music is very positive, due to the opportunities in music creation and accessibility that it offers. I listen to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) FM and some online radio. I think the Internet has also opened new doors for music education and appreciation.
Isaac: If you could create a fantasy band - what would be the line-up and why?
Tony & Peter Chotem: Any group of committed players who have been together for a good period of time, are really listening to each other, and taking risks, are already a fantasy band. But, how about this: Jack DeJohnette on drums, Victor Wooten on bass, Larry Carlton on guitar, Keith Jarrett on piano, Richard Bona on percussion, and Norah Jones on vocals.
Isaac: What CD's do you currently have available and where can they be purchased from?
Tony Chotem/Double Helix: Our current CD, Phoenix Rising, can be purchased on my website, www.tonychotem.com, or through CD Baby, www.cdbaby.com/cd/doublehelix. Fans can also call me directly at 604-980-4336, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Isaac: Where can fans access your music, videos, blogs, and anything else about you online?
Tony Chotem/Double Helix: Fans can check us out at www.sonicbids.com/DoubleHelix or at www.myspace.com/doublehelixjazzensemble.
Isaac: Message to your fans?
Peter Chotem/Double Helix: We’d like to let our fans know how much we appreciate their support and encouragement
North Shore Outlook/ Thursday, November 22, 2007.
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SEEING DOUBLE - Double Helix, a jazz quartet that includes Peter and Tony Chotem, celebrate the rel...SEEING DOUBLE
- Double Helix, a jazz quartet that includes Peter and Tony Chotem, celebrate the release of their new album,Phoenix Rising, at the Silk Purse Arts Centre Nov.24 from 7-10 p.m.
North Shore News/ Friday, November 23, 2007
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DOUBLE HELIX/ Peter and Tony Chotem (sons of Canadian pianist/composer Neil chotem) bring their jaz...DOUBLE HELIX/
Peter and Tony Chotem (sons of Canadian pianist/composer Neil chotem) bring their jazz quartet to West Vancouver's Silk Purse Gallery (1570 Argyle Ave.) Saturday, Nov.24 at 7 p.m. to celebrate the release of their new CD Phoenix Rising. The album features nine original compositions by the brothers. Tony, a North Van resident, teaches privately and at Capilano College while Peter teaches in Richmond.Go to www.tonychotem.com for more details.
(Average set length --55 minutes)
Black Orpheus---Luis Bonfi
Blue In Green--Miles Davis
Silver Moutain Temple(original) ---Peter Chotem.
The Water Is Wide (Jazz arrangement)--Celtic trad.
Watermelon Man--Herbie Hancock
Pork Pie Hat---Charles Mingus.
Double Helix(original)--Peter and Tony Chotem.