In guitar history, no single figure stands as tall as jazzman Charlie Christian. He helped not only introduce the electric guitar to the world, but also popularized single string solos, moving the instrument from background rhythm to the forefront of popular music. And like so many important jazz players, he made enormous contributions in the span of an all-too-short life.
Born in 1916 in Texas, Christian moved to Oklahoma City at an early age, where he became immersed in the jazz culture of the Sooner State. Influenced by family, jazz musicians in and out of Oklahoma, and area western swing players, Christian emerged with his own unique style of playing. By 1939, he joined the Benny Goodman Sextet. During the next few years, he received national acclaim. At clubs like Minton’s in New York, he even helped craft the early stages of Bebop. And yet by 1942, he succumbed to tuberculosis and passed into history.
This DVD covers all aspects of Charlie’s life and music, featuring interviews with family friends, fellow Oklahoma jazz musicians, and music luminaries like Claude ‘Fiddler’ Williams, Jerry Jerome, and Les Paul. Also included are a large array of musical performances by such guitarists as Herb Ellis, Eldon Shamblin, Zeke Campbell, and others.