1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Regarding Charlie Christian

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by jonkay1, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. jonkay1

    jonkay1 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    484
    Joined:
    May 3, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    I've heard of Charlie Christian since I was a kid. I knew about the Charlie Christian guitar pick-up and that he played in Benny Goodmans' band. But I never ever heard his actual playing, not even on records. Thanks to the wonders of You Tube, I heard him for the first time the other day. He was an amazing guitarist, his playing so smooth and free flowing. His playing was as good or better than anyone, even to this present time. I read that it was Benny Goodmans' manager that forced Goodman to hire him and that Goodman was very resentful about being saddled with this unknown guitar player, but he had a complete change of heart the first time that he heard Charlie Christian play. He was astounded at what he was hearing. You could say that Charlie Christian introduced the world to the sound of electric jazz guitar.
     
  2. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    55
    Posts:
    8,798
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Dallas TX USA
  3. tele salivas

    tele salivas Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,893
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Location:
    Mounds, OK
    Yeah, Charlie C.....That tone haunts me, that phrasing, just something magical there. Transcriptions of his stuff don't do nothing for what is really going on there. That's cause he was an original. Like you I was astoundd at his playing, after hearing about him for so long. I'm glad I was old enough to appreciate what was going on there, cuase its a miracle to hear that Benny Goodman stuff. Another one, too young.
     
  4. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    72
    Posts:
    4,860
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Location:
    Queensland Australia
    That is just great! In those days the drummers (or first chair percussionests) were top shelf as well with accents and their syncapation suited the timing of the number not like the flat out slog of some these days. That reminds me of an old mate who has since left the planet, but "Bronco" played some of the best piano I've ever heard, jazz, dance even a touch classical, an excellent muso all round. Bronco's problem was he liked the booze, I mean a lot! Someone brought him back a New York (pretty sure it was New York) telephone book as a gift/joke. Bronco got on the lunatic soup one night and was looking at the phone book and came across Krupa G. and said to himself "I wonder?"

    So, old Bronco picked up the phone and rang the number, turned out it was Gene Krupa and he said they had a great conversation for about an hour, and he said Mr. Krupa was a real gentleman and couldn't believe that anyone remembered him after all that time.

    That was Bronc's party story for a long time and it was true. Bronco Johnson was his name .......never ever found out what his real first name was.
     
  5. DrumBob

    DrumBob -------------------------

    Posts:
    3,311
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Location:
    Highland Lakes, NJ
    You're right on all counts. I have a boxset from Columbia Records that contains everything Charlie ever recorded, and it's amazing. He truly is the father of the electric guitar in terms of soloing, jazz, etc.
     
  6. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,761
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    Oklamerica
    I kinda had the same experience. I'd heard about him for so long and finally just added a Charlie Christian station to my Pandora. It's really fantastic stuff. I've also added a Joe Pass and Django station as well and mix them together. Great music from 3 very different stylists.
     
  7. Tidepoolbay

    Tidepoolbay Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,856
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    Franklin New Jersey
    In some of those songs Charlie was playing Be Bop lines ten years before Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie!
     
  8. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,836
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    Location:
    Northeastern Indiana
  9. Kerry Vance

    Kerry Vance Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    174
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Location:
    just north of Dallas
    I'm a fan, too. Columbia released the Solo Flight double LP in the late 60s. I had read, in Guitar Player magazine, where B.B. King named him as a big influence (along with Louis Jordan, T-Bone Walker, and Lonnie Johnson). I bought the record, but being a teenager at the time, with no background in jazz and expecting it to be more B.B. King like - I was disappointed. Then about 15 years later, I heard Charlie's playing with more experienced ears and more of an open mind and loved it. I've been a big fan ever since then. Seems to me that he and T-Bone Walker set the standard for jazz and blues - great tone and incredible phrasing. He was obviously influenced by horn players.
     
  10. jazztele

    jazztele Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    8,260
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    chicago
    Without Charlie, music would be VERY different then it is today.

    To me, he's among the most important guitarists of all time, right up there with Segovia and Django.
     
  11. fakeocaster

    fakeocaster Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,728
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Enniscorthy, Ireland
    +1
     
  12. bradpdx

    bradpdx Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,459
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    +1 yes indeed

    What always strikes me about Charlie Christian is how fresh and modern he still sounds. Here's a young man learning this by himself, with no precedents on the instrument to guide him, and yet he sounds completely polished and sophisticated. It is almost as if the solution to "how to play jazz electric guitar" was just waiting to be discovered rather than invented, and he found it.

    Truly amazing. If only he had survived past 23.
     
  13. cowboytwang

    cowboytwang Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,818
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    Sonoran Desert
    Must have been something in the water in Oklahoma to produce all those great electric guitar players at the same time. Eldon Shamblin (who was playing all the same gigs around OKC as Charlie in the early to mid '30s), Noel Boggs(who played some with Charlie & his brother Ed), and my favorite Junior Barnard (who was the staff guitar player in Tulsa at the time Charlie was in OKC).
    Then you had the Texas Playboys all playing electric instruments over in Tulsa every week starting in 1935. Funny all those other players in Oklahoma ended up at one time playing with the Texas Playboys. I wonder if Charlie had lived longer would he at some point record with the Texas Playboys also, or continued to do more pop-jazz.

    One thing for sure there were some very influential electric guitar players all in one area of Oklahoma in the '30s.
     
  14. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    71
    Posts:
    4,920
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Hendersonville, TN
    Jesse Ed Davis was great OK guy as well. Charlie played on a live recording that appears
    to to be out of print now. This one done in the mid-40s was not bebop but progressive
    modern jazz as would become known and more popular in the late '50s or early '60s.
    When first hearing this recording and looking at the recording date was really amazed
    and it included a band of future jazz stars.
     
  15. jonkay1

    jonkay1 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    484
    Joined:
    May 3, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    I read on the Internet that Charlie Christian is buried in an unmarked grave near his home town in Oklahoma. If true, how very sad. Seems like a guy of his stature certainly deserved more.
     
  16. cowboytwang

    cowboytwang Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,818
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    Sonoran Desert
    It was an unmarked grave near his birthplace in Bonham, Texas. In 1994 the state of Texas put a headstone and marker on what they believe is his grave site.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Dr. Pants

    Dr. Pants Banned

    Posts:
    1,065
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Location:
    HERE
    So what we really have is another
    great Texas guitar player.

    Ha!
     
  18. daveandshelle

    daveandshelle Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,055
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Location:
    london, Ontario great white north
    Did not realize he died at 26 years old...
     
  19. daveandshelle

    daveandshelle Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,055
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Location:
    london, Ontario great white north
    He was clearly Canadian.. :)
     
  20. cowboytwang

    cowboytwang Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,818
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    Sonoran Desert
    His family, and Charlie himself, moved to Oklahoma City when he was around 4 years old.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.