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Genius of the Electric Guitar

Charlie ChristianAudio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 16 Songs, 1987 $9.99  
Audio CD, 1990 --  
Audio Cassette, 1990 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Rose Room (Album Version)The Benny Goodman Sextet 2:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Seven Come ElevenBenny Goodman Sextet (feat. Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian) 2:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Till Tom SpecialBenny Goodman Sextet feat. Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian 2:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Gone With "What" Wind (Album Version)Charlie Christian 3:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Grand Slam (Album Version)Charlie Christian 2:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Six Appeal (My Daddy Rocks Me)Benny Goodman Sextet (feat. Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian) 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Wholly Cats (Album Version)Benny Goodman;Charlie Christian;Benny Goodman Sextet 2:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Royal Garden BluesBenny Goodman Sextet (feat. Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian) 3:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. As Long as I LiveBenny Goodman Sextet (feat. Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian) 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Benny's BugleBenny Goodman Sextet (feat. Benny Goodman & Charlie Christian) 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Breakfast Feud (Album Version)Charlie Christian 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. I Found a New Baby (Album Version)Charlie Christian 2:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Solo Flight (Album Version)Benny Goodman & His Orchestra 2:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Blues In B (Album Version)Charlie Christian 1:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Waiting For Benny (Album Version)Charlie Christian 5:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Air Mail Special (Album Version)Charlie Christian 3:20$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000026C8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,001 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Charlie Christian was dead of TB at 25, but his impact on modern jazz in general and electric guitarists in particular is incalculable. Yet another southwestern musician who came under the spell of tenor innovator Lester Young, Christian also learned valuable lessons from arranger/trombonist/electric guitarist Eddie Durham--who recorded the first six-string electric solo on Basie's "Time Out" and taught Christian the value of downstrokes. Christian's horn-like phrasing style and genius for setting up repeated rhythmic figures (known as riffs) anticipated the bebop revolution to come--and was a major influence on Thelonious Monk and Wes Montgomery. As a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet, Christian brought a renewed sense of swing and blues authority to the clarinetist's combo, where on numbers such as "Seven Come Eleven" he set everything in motion with only a few well-placed notes. His invigorating brand of tension and release reaches its rhythmic apex on his big band feature "Solo Flight" and an all-star bash with Goodman, Basie, Cootie Williams, and Jo Jones on "Breakfast Feud" and "I Found A New Baby." --Chip Stern

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Half five stars, half three stars... October 4, 2002
By J. Lund
Format:Audio CD
This four-disc collection is an essential historical document. GENIUS brings together all available material recorded mostly by Benny Goodman's legendary 1939-1941 combo, in which the groundbreaking guitarist Charlie Christian was among the participants. The upgraded sound quality is amazing considering when it was recorded (as good or better than the recent Billie Holiday boxed set). As another reviewer mentioned, the packaging is odd...let's just say you may want to have some jewel boxes available to better protect your purchase.
The music here is often not that far removed from bebop, which revolutionized jazz a few years later. In my mind, bebop built on recordings such as these, rather than broke away from them as some would have you believe. Ironically (given the low opinion some jazz fans have of the rock genre), a number of these tracks also seem not far removed from 1950s rock'n'roll and r&b. Christian's inventive solos may sound quite familiar today--albeit still very fresh and provocative--given how far and wide his influence has spread. Imagine hearing it back then, though...when he was basically inventing this style of guitar playing. And he's not the only great soloist: Goodman and vibist Lionel Hampton are consistently impressive. Furthermore, among the guests on particular sessions are such jazz masters as Count Basie, Lester Young, and Fletcher Henderson.
Where the three star split-rating comes in is that there are two CDs worth of master takes included here (including the 20-minute closing jam session). I think the potential buyer should be aware that half of this boxed set contains alternate takes, fragments, and several rehearsal tracks, most of which vary little from the originally-issued versions.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Jazz Types Need To Loosen Up June 19, 2003
Format:Audio CD
I like my Coltrane and Mingus and Monk too, but Jiminey H. Crowe, you can't give this stuff just 3 stars! This is Charlie Christian sneaking in the back door of the biggest stage available in popular music at the time and hi-jacking American culture from the facile and the banal back to solid musicianship, compelling (while seemingly effortless) syncopation, an expanded tonal palate without sacrificing a steady blues sensibility. It's not just complexity that bakes the biscuit. Complexity alone makes the girls yawn and go home. Here Charlie invigorates the blues while rocking the cradle of the Swing Era, rock guitar, and BeBop all at once, and even the great Benny gets taken to school. Three stars? Wake up!
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great set, but not just Charlie Christian September 27, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Before commenting on the music, I should note that the packaging is
different than most. The CDs are mounted on a piece of foam-sponge
material without sleeves. The arrangement does make it easy to get
to the CDs (often a hassle with elaborate box sets), but potential buyers
should know what they're going to get in terms of packaging. The CDs
appeared to be fine, and the arrrangement is convenient, but one has
to be careful not to scrape the CDs when putting those back in.
Also, those who aren't familiar with Charlie Christian's playing should
note that this music is primarily his work with the Benny Goodman
Sextet, and while his solos are superb, it is in the context of a band led
by someone else. So, most of the initial solos are by Goodman and
often next by Lionel Hampton, and with pianists like Fletcher Henderson
and Count Basie, there's also plenty of piano solos. Christian plays
plenty of guitar here, so there's plenty for the fan to enjoy, and the
sound is excellent considering the sources.
As a jazz set, the music swings, but with a lot of unison work that
has a noticable bop-like feel, and the playing is first rate, with the
sextet line-ups now legendary. Those who are expecting a pure guitar
set will be disappointed, but kick back and enjoy the music, and you'll
find that Christian sounded just great in in the company of such
musicians like Goodman and Basie. This won't be as guitar-oriented
a set like music by Django Rhinehart would be.
The rehearsal and outtakes are like those in many jazz sets, and I
question the value of aborted takes the only lasted a minute or so.
Those seem like mere padding.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let us see..... April 3, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Charlie Christian is an outstanding guitar player. His guitar playing is cutting edge and very modern. However, this record does not give you the full picture of his genius. This record is the most available Christian record, and if you go to the right shop, you can probably find it for a preety good price. So anyone interested in Christian should pick it up by all means. There are some great highlights on this disc, i.e. Air Mail Special, Solo Flight, and Waiting for Benny. Plus you get to hear some incredible Cootie Williams trumpet solos (man he is hot, see Air Mail Special, woo wee). Overall,you do begin to get an idea of Christian's genius. However, if you really want to experience the man at work, you should check out some of his "after hours at Minton's" stuff. Such as the "Immortal Charlie Christian". This record not only documents Charlie at his best, but you get to take part in the some very early BeBop. Alongside Dizzy and Monk, you get this all star band going at it the way they want. So, "The Genius of the Electric Guitar" is a good record to start off with, of course, but please check out other Christian stuff. You will not be sorry you did.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars satisfying album
Great album, not just the guitar either. I really enoyed the trumpet as well, it reminds me of one of my personal favorites-Louis Armstrong. Read more
Published 14 months ago by William Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars THE FIRST
Charlie Christian's tragic death at the age of 23 is a firmly entrenched fact of jazz mythology. On The Genius of the Electric Guitar, which consists of various tracks recorded... Read more
Published on May 2, 2012 by Jerlaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Great old American jazz music!
What a blessing to find and hear old American jazz by a great jazz guitarist. This is music you don't hear on the radio. This music is American history we need to hold onto.
Published on January 24, 2012 by Linda G. S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five star rating for people learning jazz guitar
I'm a jazz guitarist that has been playing professionally for over forty years (ouch). When rating an album by a jazz guitarist, I rate it from a guitarist's perspective. Read more
Published on January 6, 2012 by Dave Lincoln
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection
Charlie is awesome, but all the musicians are incredibly talented. Benny Goodman is the real star. The alternate takes and false starts give the feeling of being in the studio... Read more
Published on July 25, 2009 by Bill Staley
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound quality, changes everything!
Take it from me, a person who owns almost every Charlie Christian CD ever released, this box set is the best! It's just mind boggling how great these remastered recordings sound. Read more
Published on August 10, 2008 by Kay Emm Gee
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of a true jazz pioneer
Although musicians throughout the United States were experimenting with amplification during the Great Depression -- notably in the fields of country, blues and jazz -- Charlie... Read more
Published on March 17, 2008 by DJ Joe Sixpack
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, although I absolutely agree with the packaging critique
I am a jazz guitarist, music salesman, and record collector. So, I was obviously excited when I heard about this reissue. Read more
Published on November 19, 2005 by Steven Beck
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Guitar
Any guitar player must have this, period. This is one of the first electric guitarist, and yet, this is as good as the electric guitar can get. Read more
Published on April 7, 2005 by Blues Bro
1.0 out of 5 stars Greasy Foam Packaging
All previous reviewers who trashed the packaging are right. Not only is it highly incovenient but it actually leaves a greasy film on the surface of the CD that is in the foam. Read more
Published on March 15, 2005 by guy smiley
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