The Father Of The Electric Guitar, Charlie Christian

Charlie Christian is known as the father of electric guitar. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

According to many music enthusiasts, Charlie Cristian is considered one of the early guitarists to bring the electric guitar out of the rhythm section and into the forefront of popular music.  Christian received most of his fame early on when he joined the Benny Goodman Sextet.  Christian had a very short career, but made a large impact with his electric guitar.  Many of the current guitar legends like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton may not have had the opportunities to play lead guitar if it wasn’t for Charlie Christian.  Christian thrived in the swing and jazz scenes, going nonstop from gigs with Benny Goodman to late night jazz jams in Harlem.  Since Christian’s music career only lasted from about 1936 to his death in 1942, I couldn’t find any video footage of him performing, but fortunately for us there are audio recordings that we can enjoy.  I put a few of these recordings together for your enjoyment.  Sit back and listen to one of the original fathers of the electric guitar.

One of the first recordings Charlie Christian made one he joined the Benny Goodman Sextet was this recording of “Rose Room.”  Listen to it here at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4H7M2YFK0s.

Charlie Christian recorded a great rendition of the classic jazz song, “Honeysuckle Rose.”  Hear it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSqOXpZy8yM&feature=related.

I came across another rare audio recording and photo montage put together for YouTube of a Charlie Christian performance of the song, “Stomin’ At The Savoy.”  Hear Christian live at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x52x5hjpD5k&feature=related.

The last audio recording in this post comes from another Benny Goodman group.  This is a cool recording because it includes two false starts from the band with a little bit of commentary.  Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prL94c2tyHA&feature=related.

Charlie Christian deserves to be the father of electric guitar.  Christian saw an opportunity to bring the guitar to the front of the band and showcase it in the time and music style known for featuring the primary horn and woodwind instruments like the saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and clarinet.  Who knows what role the electric guitar would have in today’s music industry if it wasn’t for Charlie Christian.

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Have fun and stay tuned!

Mike

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