Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Charlie Christian - The Genius of the Electric Guitar (1939-1941)

Charlie Christian did not invent the electric guitar, nor was he the first to play it. But his horn-like, bluesy, sweet-and-tart conception made the jazz world take notice in the late 1930s and early 40s, and he gave the instrument its first truly distinctive voice. Along with another southwestern-based musician, tenor sax master Lester Young, Christian helped push swing over the border into bebop with a supple, relaxed approach to time, and a smooth, chromatic approach that spun flurries of diminished and augmented scale notes with melodic and rhythmic grace, all the while evincing a liberal - and powerful - use of silence and sonic space.
With The Genius of the Electric Guitar, Columbia-Legacy has given Christian the full box set treatment : four discs that collect every note that Charlie played for Columbia - including alternate takes, rehearsals, and false starts - mostly under the aegis of bandleader Benny Goodman. The box itself is cleverly made to look like one of Christian’s old Gibson amplifiers, and the accompanying booklet offers excellent historical perspective and thorough biographical and discographical information, along with intelligent track-by-track commentary and plenty of photos.
Since Christian died young of tuberculosis (most likely exacerbated by hard-living and serious partying), it’s easy to see the record label marketing machinery trying to create another Robert Johnson-tortured-genius mythology around the guitarist. But don’t fall for it : whatever the truth of his lifestyle, Christian’s music sings with joy and a vital sense of discovery.
New listeners expecting the ultimate jazz guitar rush might be disappointed at first: Christian’s solos on these mostly small-group sides are seldom more than a single chorus long. But those choruses are almost always masterful ; and they created the lexicon for nearly all jazz guitar that followed.
Beyond the value of this set as Chapter and Verse for jazz guitarists, there is the vivid record here of Benny Goodman’s near-invention of something that came to be called chamber jazz : a tightly arranged yet relaxed format that, with an almost classical balance and poise, allowed each member of the ensemble sufficient space for their distinctive voices to be heard. And what voices: Goodman, Count Basie, Lester Young, Cootie Williams, Lionel Hampton, and Johnny Guarnieri are just some of the masters heard from on these recordings.
The sound quality here is stunning ; it’s a tribute to the original Columbia session engineers and the re-master engineers that this music sounds as good as it does. The drums in particular are richer and more detailed than on any other recordings of this vintage that I’ve ever heard.
The biggest thrill of the entire set might well be the guitar-with-big band showpiece “Solo Flight” : chorus after chorus, Christian excites and surprises with seemingly endless inventiveness. It’s as fresh now as it was back in 1941, when it knocked quite a few guitar players on their asses and opened up new ways of thinking, hearing, and playing.
Kevin Macneil Brown

Source : http://www.dustedmagazine.com/reviews/411

Charlie Christian
The Genius of the Electric Guitar


Cd. 1

1 Flying Home (Goodman, Hampton)  3:12
2 Rose Room (Hickman, Williams)  2:47
3 Stardust (Carmichael)  3:14
4 Memories Of You (Razaf, Blake)  3:10
5 Soft Winds (Henderson)  2:27
6 Seven Come Eleven (Goodman, Christian)  2:46
7 Shivers (Christian, Hampton)  2:48
8 AC/DC Current (Christian, Hampton, Goodman)  2:45
9 I'm Confessin' (That I Love You) (Neiburg, Dougherty, Reynolds)  2:58
10 Till Tom Special (Goodman, Hampton)  3:04
11 Gone With What Wind (Basie, Goddman)  3:22
12 The Sheik Of Araby [second take] (Smith, Wheeler, Snyder)  3:15
13 Untitled Tune (unknown)  2:01
14 Poor Butterfly (Golden, Hubbell)  2:51
15 I Surrender, Dear [second take] (Clifford, Barris)  3:00
16 Boy Meets Goy (Grand Slam) [second take] (Goodman)  2:53
17 These Foolish Things (Marvell, Strachey)  3:13
18 Flying Home (Goodman, Hampton)  3:16
19 Memories Of You (Razaf, Blake)  3:09
20 Soft Winds (Henderson)  2:28
21 Shivers (Christian, Hampton)  2:30
22 Gone With What Wind (Basie, Goddman)  3:15
23 The Sheik Of Araby [first take] (Smith, Wheeler, Snyder)  3:26
24 I Surrender, Dear [first take] (Clifford, Barris)  2:55
25 Boy Meets Goy (Grand Slam) [first take] (Goodman)  2:50
26 These Foolish Things (Marvell, Strachey)  3:05


Cd. 2

1 Six Appeal (My Daddy Rocks Me) [fourth take] (Goodman)  3:18
2 Good Enough To Keep (Air Mail Special) [first take] (Goodman, Mundy, Christian)  2:53
3 Ad Lib Blues (impro.)  3:20
4 Wholly Cats (Goodman)  3:15
5 Charlie's Dream (Basie, Young)  3:12
6 I Never Knew (Fiorito, Kahn)  2:58
7 Lester's Dream (Basie, Young)  3:16
8 Wholly Cats [fourth take] (Goodman)  3:03
9 Wholly Cats [fifth take] (Goodman)  2:59
10 Royal Garden Blues [third take] (Williams, Williams)  3:01
11 As Long As I Live [second take] (Koehler, Arlen)  3:136
12 Benny's Bugle [sixth take] (Goodman)  3:06
13 Gilly [third take] (Goodman)  2:36
14 Six Appeal (My Daddy Rocks Me) [first take] [fourth take] (Goodman)  3:13
15 Six Appeal (My Daddy Rocks Me) [second take] (Goodman)  3:18
16 Six Appeal (My Daddy Rocks Me) [third take] (Goodman)  2:52
17 Good Enough To Keep (Air Mail Special) [second take] (Goodman, Mundy, Christian)  2:47
18 Good Enough To Keep (Air Mail Special) [third take] (Goodman, Mundy, Christian)  2:56
19 Wholly Cats [first take] (Goodman)  2:58
20 Wholly Cats [second take] (Goodman)  3:05
21 Wholly Cats [third take] (Goodman)  3:03
22 Royal Garden Blues [first take] (Williams, Williams)  2:46
23 Royal Garden Blues [second take] (Williams, Williams)  3:02
24 As Long As I Live [first take] (Koehler, Arlen)  3:22
25 Gilly [first take] (Goodman)  2:35
26 Gilly [second take] (Goodman)  2:35


Cd. 3

1 Breakfast Feud [fifth take] (Goodman)  3:11
2 I Can't Give You Anything But Love [third take] (Fields, McHugh)  3:23
3 Breakfast Feud [fourth take] (Goodman)  3:03
4 On The Alamo (Kahn, Jones)  3:24
5 I Found A New Baby [second take] (Palmer, Williams)  3:02
6 Gone With What Draft [third take] (Goodman)  2:40
7 A Smo-o-o-oth One [third take] (Goodman)  3:17
8 Air Mail Special (Good Enough To Keep) [second take] (Goodman, Mundy, Christian)  3:22
9 Breakfast Feud [first take] (Goodman)  3:52
10 Breakfast Feud [second take] (Goodman)  3:18
11 Breakfast Feud [third take] (Goodman)  3:10
12 Breakfast Feud [fourth take] (Goodman)  3:14
13 I Can't Give You Anything But Love [first take] (Fields, McHugh)  3:23
14 I Can't Give You Anything But Love [second take] (Fields, McHugh)  3:35
15 Breakfast Feud [first take] (Goodman)  3:06
16 Breakfast Feud [second take] (Goodman)  3:13
17 Breakfast Feud [third take] (Goodman)  3:03
18 I Found A New Baby [first take] (Palmer, Williams)  2:55
19 Gone With What Draft [first take] (Goodman)  2:44
20 Gone With What Draft [second take] (Goodman)  2:43
21 A Smo-o-o-oth One [first take] (Goodman)  3:17
22 A Smo-o-o-oth One [second take] (Goodman)  3:19
23 Air Mail Special (Good Enough To Keep) [first take] (Goodman, Mundy, Christian)  3:22


Cd. 4

1 All Star Strut (Mergentroid ?)  3:08
2 Honeysuckle Rose (Razaf, Waller)  3:02
3 Li'l Boy Love [third take] (Loesser, Hollander)  2:59
4 Solo Flight (78 rpm Version) [first take] (Christian, Mundy, Goodman)  2:47
5 All Star Strut (Mergentroid ?)  3:12
6 Li'l Boy Love [second take] (Loesser, Hollander)  2:58
7 Solo Flight (Christian, Mundy, Goodman)  2:47
8 Untitled Tune [breakdown]  1:35
9 Poor Butterfly [false start] (Golden, Hubbell)  0:29
10 I Surrender, Dear [breakdown] (Clifford, Barris)  1:04
11 I Surrender, Dear [breakdown] (Clifford, Barris)  1:10
12 Six Appeal (My Daddy Rocks Me) [breakdown] (Goodman)  1:05
13 Six Appeal (My Daddy Rocks Me) [false start] (Goodman)  0:19
14 These Foolish Things [false start] (Marvell, Strachey)  0:34
15 Tune Up & Blues [false start] (impro.)  0:17
16 Wholly Cats [breakdown] (Goodman)  0:54
17 Breakfast Feud [false start] (Goodman)  0:27
18 Breakfast Feud [false start] (Goodman)  0:09
19 Gilly [breakdown] (Goodman)  1:31
20 All Star Strut [breakdown] (Mergentroid ?)  1:18
21 Benny's Bugle [rehearsal sequence - part one] (Goodman)  14:19
22 Benny's Bugle [rehearsal sequence - part two] (Goodman)  9:18
23 March 13, 1941 Jam Session (Unknown, Goodman, Gaskill, McHugh
Hickman, Williams, Noble, Guarnieri, Christian)  21:03
a. Riffin' Around (unknown)  3:31
b. Waintin' for Benny (A Smo-o-o-oth One) (Goodman)  3:37
c. I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me (Gaskill, McHugh)  6:20
d. Rose Room (Hickman, Williams)  4:01
e. I Hadn't Anyone Till You (Noble)  1:59
f. Blues (Guarnieri, Christian)  1:34


Featuring Buck Clayton, Lester Young, Freddie Green, Walter Page, Jo Jones, Cootie Williams, Benny Goodman, Lou McGarity, Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Mundy, Nick Fatool, Les Robinson, Bob Snyder, George Auld, Count Basie, Charlie Christian, Artie Bernstein, Harry Jaeger, Johnny Guarnieri, Dave Tough, Harry James, Jack Teagarden, Benny Carter, Bob Haggart, Gene Krupa, Fletcher Henderson, Arnold Covey, Vernon Brown, etc.

Recorded at World Studios, New York City & Los Angeles, California ; between October 2, 1939 & March 13, 1941

See the complete artwork


Jeronyme said...



Toad said...

A must have! Thanks

lucky5 said...

Thank you very much for all the great jazz music you share with us all the time!!

Greeny said...

Thanks, Mel,

this is wonderful stuff. Especially the cover of the box set showing this old battered Gibson EH-150 amplifier ... and great timeless music - stunning!

5 cents said...

Had a few of these cuts, but audio much better on this collection. Most appreciated. Beautiful day in Northern California.

Blue Eyes said...

"audio much better on this collection" absolument, the best collection! a must have! merci, merci St Melanchthon!!

j cline said...

Quelle merveille! Merci muchly.

Geoffrey Smith said...

Thank you! Thank You!

AmyBRAINS said...

This is a wonderful stuff.
Many, many thanks, Melanchthon.


Once more super!!!!!!!
What can I say.
A honest thank you very much

zardoz1984 said...

A thousand thanks!
Magnificent stuff & pure genius.
Just stayed listening in awe: he did so much before being 25 years old, unbelievable!
Thks again, Mel, i'm not ready to go to bed!

Luro said...

Una joyita musical. Muichas gracias Melanchthon

ProfessorCalculus said...

This is a pure delight. Thanks a lot

Jackberry Gilard said...


The way you explain this article is really superb. I found the quality, Gibson's guitars and these are looking very nice. This blog is interesting for me because I am more fascinating with Electric Guitars, and another thing is that I love music lots.

creation25 said...

ONLY artworks are down. A bit surprised to see that because to me they're as essential as the discs. Thanks again, Mel.

Keneda 1212 said...

Hi, I can't open the archive file.. Need a password.. Do you have it?

Diego Salazar said...

I need the password, someone can pass it to me? pleaseeee!!

Benjamin Riley said...

Hello, from Benjamin--Could you refresh the links for the artwork, please? Thank you.

mr. memory said...

Can someone post the password please? Tried melanchthon, baruch, bloom but none worked

Melanchthon said...


Cd. 1
Cd. 2
Cd. 3
Cd. 4

José Guzmán Castilla said...

Thanks as always for the artwork, Mel!

deGallo said...

Thank you.

John Pickworth said...

Many thanks !

Otis Foster said...

Thanks melanchthon. I never had this lossless to begin with, and I lost that in a crash.

Anonymous said...

Essential !

Brush&Stick said...

Huge thanks for this massive share!

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Marvellous post, thank you very much Mel
Have a nice day

Fred Archtop said...

Many thanks Mel, and happy 100th birhday Mr Christian.

DEEP said...


Historicus said...

Marvelous, thank you!

M. Milner said...


motenswing said...

Could you please re-up the CD files? Some of the zippy files of cd 2 and 3 have expired. Thank you!