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Selected Broadcasts & Jam Sessions Box set, Original recording remastered


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Audio CD, Box set, Original recording remastered, July 12, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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When Benny Goodman hired Charlie Christian in 1939, he of course had no way of knowing that the innovative young electric guitarist would die three years later of TB. That explains why during his tenure with Goodman's band Christian recorded only a handful of studio recordings. Luckily, dozens of his radio appearances were recorded, many of which appear on this bargain-priced four-CD set. Most of the tracks feature Christian with the Benny Goodman Sextet, a group with shifting personnel that at various times included Lionel Hampton, Fletcher Henderson, and Gene Krupa. Christian's playing ranges from good to brilliant, and on almost every track you can hear him creating the vocabulary for the next few generations of jazz guitarists by coming up with new riffs, rhythms, and chord voicings. Also included are a few selections from the famous From Spirituals to Swing concert from 1939, and some rare Harlem jam sessions from 1941 that show Christian flirting with early bop ideas. The sound quality on the bulk of the tracks is surprisingly good, considering the source. So the question is, does anyone really need eight versions of "Flying Home?" The simple answer is yes, particularly when those versions are a well played and as historically important as these are. --Michael Simmons

Disc: 1
1. Flying Home
2. Stardust
3. Flying Home
4. I Got Rhythm
5. Stardust
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Dinah
2. I Got Rhythm
3. Flying Home
4. Memories Of You
5. Stomping At The Savoy
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. The Sheik Of Araby
2. Seven Come Elevan
3. Six Appeal
4. Honeysuckle Rose
5. Six Appeal
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Wholly Cats
2. Ida, Sweet As Apple Cider
3. Breakfast Feud
4. Song Of The Islands
5. Flying Home
See all 14 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 12, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Jsp Records
  • ASIN: B00006ANJ5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,639 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Richard W. Cutler on November 23, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Look, Charlie Christian needs no endorsement from me. A few particulars: Benny Goodman was an indifferent soloist but a fine assembler of talent. On these sides he stays out of the way and doesn't mess things up. Christian on the first set of sides is accompanied by Lionel Hampton, who almost matches him-- almost. (Listen to "Stardust," with Christian's quote from "Pretty Baby" before Charlie starts exploring VERY strange chords.) The sides with Basie are incomparable, and when Basie's small group sits in --Lester Young, Jo Jones included-- with Goodman, Christian, and Cootie Williams, a jazz fan can only dream of what could happened if these stars regularly recorded together. Christian is the focus, and it really is extraordinary to hear his rhythmic ideas, undoubtedly predecssors to be-bop, his flirtations with odd chords, yet deeply, deeply ensconced in the southwestern blues tradition. Minor grouchy notes: The all-star sides I could do without, as well as some of the alternate takes. But, come on, these are tiny when compared with the underlying simplicity of this great music. Listen to the sextet sides with Hampton, and the Basie sides, on the way to work. You'll have a spring in your step all day.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Hodges on July 3, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Charlie Parker and Coleman Hawkins JSP boxed sets are so good I figured this a no-brainer purchase. Well, I became wary when I opened the box and there was no credit listed for the remastering. Ted Kendall, who worked on the aforementioned Parker & Hawkins sets, seems to have gone on to better things at Mosaic Records. When I put the first CD on, I had to dust off my listening skills from the bad old days when you had to hear through the noise and distortion and try to reconstruct the actual sound of the music with your brain. Charlie Christian's electric guitar, a distinctly midrange instrument, comes through pretty well. But the bands sound pretty awful. Maybe the source recordings were beyond salvation, but it just doesn't seem like JSP really tried.

All that said, the material on here is marvelous. While the many Columbia (Sony) releases I've sampled run from good to excellent in sound quality, they come from recording sessions where Benny Goodman is the headliner and Charlie gets very little solo time. The jams here, particularly on the longer tracks, give the guitarist a chance to lay out and develop a solo more fully. It all swings a bit harder and looser than the commercial sides; Benny & Cootie Williams in particular seem highly enthused.

So 5+ star material plus 2+ star (re?)mastering gives me my 4 star rating. Yeah, knowing what I know now, I would still buy this boxed set. But what might have been! I'm glad for my Mosaic Young/Basie set that features Charlie on 6 tracks with the small group in a spirited frame of mind with state-of-the-art remastering.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By fixingahole2 on August 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a must for Charlie Christian lovers. Personally, I am a guitarist who learned a lot from Christian, therefore I always interested to hear him doing something new, as well as something I already heard him playing before.
In this box set, you will get both.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an historical record of one of the pioneers of electric guitar. Christian had a short life and did not leave behind the huge body of recorded work that is available for folks like other pioneers like Eddie Lang who came before him, and works of the plethora of folks whom Christian influenced and inspired.

I love this collection because it does give a deep (if narrow) glimpse into his playing. By deep, I mean that the tracks on these four discs show his musical ideas evolving between his earliest tracks to those recorded near the end of his life. It also shows his versatility - he excelled in Goodman's swing ensembles as well as in jam sessions. He also managed to fit right into the Kansas City style that was really blues. That is the depth. By narrow I mean that most of the tracks in this collection are with Goodman. Yes, there are ample examples of Christian outside that bubble, but most of this material is with Goodman's smaller swing ensembles.

It's a pity that there are no sound samples on this page because a run through would give an idea about what to expect. There are some reasons why I lament the absence of the samples: first, many folks who are now just discovering Christian are probably here because they heard some of his jam session recordings from Mintons Playhouse. That is pretty timeless stuff. The bulk of what is on here is, like I said, from Goodman collaborations. I personally love those tracks, but some modern-minded musicians and fans may find the music kind of archaic. Second, the sound quality is not exactly the best. But when you consider that much of this material is from soundchecks and broadcasts, as well as crude recordings from jam sessions the poor quality is understandable.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By UBG on April 3, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sound quality is uneven...so what?
Start with Disc 1 Track 4..."I Got Rhythm". There, you just got a quick look into Jazz Heaven. Charles Christian...there is no substitute.
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