Today is, or would have been, Charlie Christian's birthday.
Guitarist Charlie Christian was one of the pioneers of electric guitar and jazz guitar. In the early days, he had to make his own amps and pickups, the volume of the guitar and the skill and inventiveness of his horn-inspired picking style making it a lead instrument in big bands and small groups.
Here are two contrasting performances: from 1939, one of his first recordings with Benny Goodman’s Sextet, soloing on Rose Room (the perfect accompaniment to a dry martini) …
… and a rare recording of Charlie Christian “after hours” at the legendary Minton’s Playhouse, helping invent bop with a band including Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke. (Another 27 minutes here!)
[Hat tip Jazz on the Tube]