Listen to a playlist of all our audio posts here.
Posts tagged with Charlie Christian.
I think there are three guitarists who left an impression on the guitar: Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery.
— Joe Pass in Melody Maker magazine, April 1974
Charlie Christian and Benny Goodman
Pianist/arranger Mary Lou Williams, a good friend of John Hammond’s and Benny Goodman’s, first suggested to John Hammond that he see Charlie Christian.
Charlie Christian was playing at the Ritz in Oklahoma City where John Hammond heard him in 1939. Hammond recommended him to Benny Goodman, but the band leader wasn’t interested. The idea of an electrified guitar didn’t appeal, and Goodman didn’t care for Christian’s flashy style of dressing. Reportedly, Hammond personally installed Christian onstage during a break in a Goodman concert in Beverly Hills. Irritated to see Christian among the band, Goodman struck up “Rose Room,” not expecting the guitarist to know the tune. What followed amazed everyone who heard the 45-minute performance.
Charlie was a hit on the electric guitar and remained in the Benny Goodman Sextet for two years. He wrote many of the group’s head arrangements and was an inspiration to all. The sextet made him famous and provided him with a steady income while Charlie worked on legitimizing, popularizing, revolutionizing, and standardizing the electric guitar as a jazz instrument.