Tony and Peter Chotem, as brothers and core members of Double Helix have been playing guitar together for almost 30 years. Their original compositions and covers draw their listeners into an evocative imaginary world of musical ideas spanning several decades and fusing elements of diverse musical styles.
The brothers 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 successful rock band: Harmonium.
Tony Chotem studied jazz and classical guitar at McGill University in Montreal. He has recorded with Columbia Records and for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. When he is not performing or recording with Double Helix, he works as a free-lance musician, arranger and producer. He also teaches both privately and at Capilano University.
Peter Chotem divides his time between teaching, composing and, of course, Double Helix.
Double Helix is an instrumental ensemble whose improvisational style combines elements of jazz, folk, pop and Latin music. On their album, Phoenix Rising, which features the song “Zoloph Spaceman”, the brothers have created an extremely versatile CD. In fact, if you like melodic, rhythmic guitar-driven jazz fusion with a lot of different facets, you will have long lasting enjoyment from this music.
Double Helix is nothing if not incredibly prolific, gifted and connected musicians. I would characterize the collection of music on Phoenix Rising as eclectic excellence. It is all different, but with the common theme of having rhythmic qualities of many forms of music – from Latin to Pop.
Double Helix’s guitar playing possesses a ‘quiet fire’ attitude. In that their playing is intense but subdued and never out of control. And there’s probably a good reason for that. Tony and Peter Chotem seem to keep their playing style rather tempered in volume and tone, to draw the focus into their main assets as musicians: their instrumental fluidity, level of technique and ability to interpret melody and harmony.
Phoenix Rising, has a nice range of styles and tempos, from the sultry “Phoenix” and reflective “Sigrid”, to the lively “Double Helix” and the strident “Zoloph Spaceman”. This album is, without a doubt, an example of how well an album can be put together; a diversified and entertaining selection, which represents the talents of the artists at their best.