Charlie Christian, although not around early enough to record material for a proper LP, was a hugely inspirational guitarist of his time. He pioneered early electric guitar work that existed before the Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul were even in existence as solid-body electric guitars. That’s how important his influence has been throughout the history of music. Although his time on the planet was very short indeed, he created over 100 different recordings during his lifetime that have been preserved. After some early difficulties getting recognised, he managed to show the world that the electric guitar could be a lead instrument in a band, not just merely a rhythm instrument. This compilation’s name says it all. Let’s take a listen to the music and hear what it sounds like.
Rose Room by the Benny Goodman Sextet is an interesting piece, driven by clarinet and glockenspiel. It sounds really old fashioned but delightful. A great introduction to the music of Charlie Christian, it sounds very excellent. Charlie Christian plays nicely on this song, with some really great early electric guitar playing. It sounds melodic and wonderful, just a nice sort of listening experience that is a throwback to decades ago. Xylophone follows, which is a nice touch. A very simple, yet enjoyable piece of music. Great to hear.
Seven Come Eleven (feat. Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian) begins with hi-hats and an uptempo feel, before launching into a catchy old-style Jazz music piece. A really great and grand listen with busy melodies, it sounds fantastic. Charlie Christian gets playing along very well, and the whole thing sounds very nice and marvellous. No doubt using a hollow-body electric guitar (which is all that was available at the time), Charlie Christian plays some great guitar leads on this tune. A really excellent and uplifting piece of music, this is inspiring. Quirky yet fun listening, a short tune to get your ears going. Nice work.
Till Tom Special (feat. Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian) is a slower yet upbeat piece of Jazz-based music that sounds not unlike music out of the past that is really excellent. With a combination of great melodicism and a wide array of instrumentation, this is unique yet wonderful listening. Xylophones galore are present and are quickly followed by Charlie Christian’s gorgeous guitar leads. A fantastic listen, all the same, it sounds really fantastic and fun. A great little number that sounds awesome, this is a good tune.
Gone With “What” Wind begins with gorgeous piano, xylophone and clarinet that sounds really joyful and upbeat. A very nice Jazz style piece of music that exudes happiness and wonder, this is really amazing stuff. Charlie Christian eventually gets playing, and he sounds like he is an expert without even trying on the electric guitar. A nice and gentle swinging tune, the title obviously refers to the famous film around the time, Gone With The Wind. The clarinet here is really great as well, the interaction between the instruments on this tune is really awesome. A fine effort by all, a must-listen. Towards the end, it climaxes in a great musical way. Wonderful.
Grand Slam begins with more clarinet, xylophone and a continuing old fashioned sounding music theme. This is really decent listening, and it is a good old school piece. Charlie Christian plays marvellously here, he is no doubt a pioneering and underrated guitarist as well. A very decent piece of music with loads of xylophone fills, this certainly sounds classy. The piano in the second half is glorious, and some of the best piano that you will ever hear in your life. Some saxophone then enters, before the whole piece reaches a dynamic climax. Great work, it sounds really awesome.
Six Appeal (My Daddy Rocks Me) (feat. Benny Goodman and Charlie Christian) is a very paedophiliac title for a song, seriously, they should have called it something else. It begins with slow electric guitars before the piece gets swinging away very nicely with saxophone and xylophone. Shortly into it, Charlie Christian gets playing away extremely well and this piece soars. A great tune, without doubt, or question, regardless of the song title, which is quite gross. There is a strong Jazz influence through all these songs, and it all sounds really great. A really awesome tune, this is grand and dramatic. There is a call-and-response part between the different instruments in the second half, before progressing well to the conclusion. Great stuff.
Wholly Cats begins with a piano intro, before going into another Jazzy, energetic piece of music that has stood the test of time. A really great tune, this sounds loud, swinging and lovely listening. There is a really cool Jazz piano solo that sounds different and excellent here, just fitting in perfectly with the tune here. This tune is very vibrant and decent for a three minute Jazz club sounding tune, and each individual plays their part nicely. A really awesome piece, it demands a good listen, even if you are not a huge fan of old-time Jazz. It ends with some Jazzy trumpet and playing by the musicians, nice work.
Royal Garden Blues (feat. Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian) is a great piece driven by trombone and clarinet from the start. It is very old fashioned but totally awesome. Charlie Christian really shines on this song, although it is primarily a call-and-response between all the instruments. Nice effort regardless, this does sound truly superb. The playing of the different instruments is really cool here, especially the pretty piano in the background. Going for exactly three minutes, these pieces are wonderful music to hear. Great and it gets super exciting towards the end. Great effort.
As Long As I Live (feat. Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian) begins with pretty piano and fluttering clarinet, which sounds rich and dynamic. It is very quiet and subtle listening before the clarinet takes centre stage. A gentle and easy listen, the music on this song is quite amazing. Trombone squeals then enter, which sound lively and dramatic. A really nice tune, this trombone section is followed by the precisely plucked electric guitar by Charlie Christian. Really cool tune with saxophone added as well, this is wonderful and amazing to hear. Lovely listening, and very enjoyable as well. This is great music from decades ago that still shines bright today. The final section is interesting and amusingly different, with a great trombone piece to go.
Benny’s Bugle (feat. Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian) is exactly that. Beginning with amazing instrumentation and playing, this sounds really gloriously good. Charlie Christian obviously rivals his fellow bandmate for attention on this song, as does the awesome piano playing on it as well. Catchy and rhythmic, this sounds very lively. There is another call-and-response styled section with the different instruments, followed by wonderful saxophone. A very upbeat and lively piece, this is an era that this music is from when playing and expertise of playing was highly valued by those listening to music. Excellence is here, just listen.
Breakfast Feud is more band work with Charlie Christian taking a more centre stage role with his guitar work. Sounding like the music from aeons ago that has been unfortunately largely forgotten, it is still lively and heavily enjoyable. The clarinet plays a key role in this song, and it just sounds really top. A brilliantly executed and delivered piece of music, with a great Charlie Christian guitar solo, this is splendid to hear. A really forward-thinking and excellent performance, these guys all take turns soloing in a three-minute-long piece. It ends with a lot of Jazzy, intricate playing.
I Found A New Baby begins with racing hi-hats, quirky melodies and prominent clarinet, this is all a joy to listen to. A really uptempo and pleasurable listen, Charlie Christian plays a Jazzy, beautiful guitar solo that is unrivalled by many. Still, it sounds really awesome and well delivered. A straightforward, yet very enjoyable piece of music from the era of the Great Depression and World War II, it sounds absolutely completely different to the popular music of today. A lively and lovely piece of music with a killer saxophone solo, there are some really great drumrolls towards the end before this piece concludes. Brilliant.
Solo Flight begins with a lot of more traditional Jazz instrumentation and Charlie Christian’s beautiful guitar tones and playing. This is a wonderful and brilliant piece that captures his playing better than other tunes on this album. A really different and excellent piece of music, it is a fine balance between big band Jazz work and similarly Jazzy guitar playing from our star. Obviously, the two go together very well and utilise each other to their full competitive potential. A really lively and interesting piece of music, this is definitely interesting. Great stuff.
Blues In B is a much shorter piece of music, with a sampled vocal requesting Charlie Christian to play the blues in B major. Nonetheless, this is a really excellent piece which is rather slow, but short to compensate for it. A very wonderful piece of music, luckily these songs have been preserved until today. A very nice listening experience, and less than two minutes long. A nice short jam.
Waiting For Benny begins with an uptempo Jazz feel to the music with several instruments going at once. The drumming is noteworthy here, and although this was recorded on primitive technology, it sounds interesting and exciting. A really fine and energetic piece of grandly delivered music, this does sound really superbly rich and vibrant. Very wonderful and lovely music to listen to, this is something that is a sore reminder of music long lost. No matter, these songs do very well on their own. The trumpets and wind instruments do excellently on this song, and it just sounds really cool. A really different and interesting listen, this is energetic and very listenable. A cool tune for those who dig really retro Jazz, this is for those who do so. A very pretty and nicely done piece of music, this sounds very wonderful. Towards the end, it gets very loud and chaotic.
Air Mail Special is the last piece on this album. It begins with clarinet and piano which sounds really cool, and the instruments directly compete with each other. Shortly into it, Charlie Christian gets playing nicely, precisely and wonderfully for all to hear. Without a doubt, this is really amazing music. It continues with more instrumental solos that are very fitting musically, with particularly good emphasis on the wind instruments to listen to. The saxophone in the second half is really pretty. It is unlikely for many of us to hear this sort of music today, but this sounds tremendously amazing all the same. Great effort and a very good finish to this album.
Overall, this is a mishmash of different tunes that Charlie Christian featured on. It’s a good mixture of Jazz band tunes in which Charlie Christian generally plays gloriously beautiful guitar solos on it. Indeed, he permanently changed the definition in which guitar music was looked at. Sadly, he died of tuberculosis at the very young age of 25 in 1942. Still, his musical legacy is a great one, and no doubt has inspired many to follow his path. Jimi Hendrix likely owes a lot to Charlie Christian’s barrier destroying moves, and the world of music would never be the same again.
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