Search - Charlie Christian :: The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Deluxe Box Set)

The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Deluxe Box Set)
Charlie Christian
The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Deluxe Box Set)
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #4

Once a musician's influence becomes widespread and absorbed, it's often a good idea to step back and remember how revolutionary their work was in its day. Charlie Christian's role as a forefather of the electric guitar was...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Charlie Christian
Title: The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Deluxe Box Set)
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Release Date: 9/24/2002
Album Type: Box set
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Swing Jazz, Bebop
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaCD Credits: 4
UPCs: 074646556429, 5099706556428

Once a musician's influence becomes widespread and absorbed, it's often a good idea to step back and remember how revolutionary their work was in its day. Charlie Christian's role as a forefather of the electric guitar was forged not just because he was among the first to use the then-new technology in the late '30s, but also because of his playing. He understood that an electric guitar is a different creature than an acoustic, and he explored this difference with fearless aplomb during his tragically short life (he died in 1942 at the age of 25). This four-disc set is a powerful celebration of Christian's legacy. As a young man playing alongside some of the giants of his day, he held his own. His fluid lines became part of basic and continuing language of the electric guitar, setting the stage for everyone from Les Paul to Jimi Hendrix. Beautifully mastered, the 98 tracks here include 17 previously unreleased performances (and another 27 never previously issued in the U.S.). Lovingly compiled, this is an essential title, not just for a jazz fan, but for any fan of the electric guitar--it all traces back to Charlie Christian. --David Greenberger

CD Reviews

Half five stars, half three stars...
J. Lund | SoCal, USA | 10/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This four-disc collection is an essential historical document.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. Certainly guitarists may want analyze Christian's playing on each take, but for the average listener things tend to get very repetitive. At least the producers put the master takes first on each CD (followed by the alternates), so if you want to hear only the prime cuts you don't have to keep skipping over tracks."
The definitive collection of a jazz great
Joe Sixpack -- | Middle America | 09/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rising to fame as a soloist in Benny Goodman's band, guitarist Charlie Christian was one of jazz music's most prominent and influential champions of the electric guitar as a solo instrument. His rich, loud tones and amplified leads were new to the jazz vocabulary, and opened the way for every guitarist from Barney Kessel, Wes Montgomery and Charlie Hunter on down. Christian only basked in the limelight for a few years, though -- joining Goodman's band in 1938 after a few years in the Southwest jazz circuit, the guitarist was felled by tuberculosis, and died in March, 1942, less than a year after his final studio session dates. This 4-CD set tracks his entire career with Goodman, highlighting his revolutionary work in Goodman's various small combo sextets, septettes and trios. Christian's style of matching other soloists such as Goodman and Lionel Hampton note-for-note was nothing short of revolutionary: up until then, the guitar had been primarily a rhythm instrument, and though Eddie Lang had pioneered its use as a lead voice in jazz, it was Christian who brought the amplified guitar into play, finally introducing an six-string sound that could be hear at the volume level of the big bands. Included here are over two dozen tracks that have never been released in the US before, including Christian's last studio sessions in 1941. Listening to it all at once may be a bit much -- it's super-sweet music, but admittedly it's also a bit noodly and repetitive. But taken in small slices (like a chocolate mousse, or anything similarly rich), it's heavenly. Among the new tracks on here are several studio jam sessions that show both Goodman and Christian's free-swinging improv style... a jazz collector's dream!"
Not really "Good Enough To Keep!"
apa | Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A. | 11/15/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The 4 CD mini Gibson Amp 'box-set'leaves off genuine off vinyl 78, and Lp 'harder-to-get' Charlie Christian/Benny Goodman recordings. Legacy states "MASTER TAKES", but absolutely fails to research deep into Charlie Christian's recording history.
Columbia vinyl 2Lp 30779, (1972), and Columbia 78rpm C -102 along with the Columbia "Sextet" Cds leave legacy far behind.
The Wang Wang Blues -78rpm isn't in the 4CD set, and there are far too many 'false-starts', which Benny Goodman discarded for a good reason. Star Dust is only about 3 minutes, it's 8 minutes on vinyl. There is even In-studio handclapping after some tunes.
I have the 78s, many Col. Lps, and there is no "Studio-Live" takes. This 4 CD box could have, and should have been much better in information, content and genuine Charlie Christian guitar stylings. The 2 readily available BG Sextet Cds are a better purchase idea, but there are still those super hard-to-get vinyl Lp tracks, which ARE "The Master Takes", left Off the legacy/Sony box set. Musicologist's suggestion, try to get the vinyl Lps. Skip this misleading 4 CD set of various tracks, + handclapping = NOT "Good Enough To Keep", (AirMail Special).
Try the 2 Benny Goodman/Charlie Christian Columbia CDs, Amazon has both, and most of the Benny Goodman Sextet 'takes' are Master Takes, and "Good Enough To Keep!""