Charlie Christian(1916-1942), pioneer of the electric jazz guitar, is heard here on 16 tracks with the Benny Goodman Sextet/Septet and Orchestra plus 3 extended live tracks from the legendary jam sessions at Minton's Playhouse.
Tracks 1-16 were recorded in New York or Los Angeles between 1939 & 1941 with a collective personnel of: Christian(guitar); Benny Goodman(clarinet); Alec Fila, Irving Goodman, Jimmy Maxwell, Cootie Williams(trumpet); Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity(trombone); Gus Bivona, Skippy Martin(alto sax); Georgie Auld, Pete Mandello(tenor sax); Bob Snyder(baritone sax); Lionel Hampton(vibes); Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, Johnny Guarnieri, Dudley Brooks(piano); Artie Bernstein(bass); Nick Fatool, Harry Jaeger, Jo Jones, Dave Tough(drums).
Tracks 17-19 were recorded at New York's Minton's Playhouse during May 1941 with Christian(guitar); Don Byas(tenor sax); Joe Guy(trumpet); Thelonious Monk, Kenny Kersey(piano); Nick Fenton(bass) & Kenny Clarke(drums).
The sound quality on these 3 tracks is surprisingly clear considering that they were captured by jazz fan Jerry Newman using a primitive disc recorder.
The guitarist is on inspired form throughout and highlights of the Benny Goodman tracks include 'Seven Come Eleven', 'Solo Flight', 'Air Mail Special' & the boppish 'Til Tom Special'. It's good to hear Christian stretching out on the atmospheric Minton's tracks with some marvellous solos.
Charlie Christian is unjustly overlooked nowadays and the swinging jazz on this 73-minute CD is an ideal introduction to his sadly brief career.
on 10 September 2008
A huge inspiration of my guitar playing, every guitarist should own it. But its not merely a 'guitar album', I know plenty of people who don't play any instrument who love this. You should already own it.