Search - Charlie Christian :: Immortal

Charlie Christian
Genres: Jazz, Pop


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All Artists: Charlie Christian
Title: Immortal
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Delta
Release Date: 11/30/1993
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Swing Jazz, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 018111703222, 018111703246, 758661961122

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The immortal who?
bukhtan | Chicago, Illinois, USA | 07/24/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This was the first Charlie Christian recording I ever bought, some years back, when my knowledge of jazz was mostly limited to recordings made after about 1950. It turned out not quite as represented. The first several recordings are live, very informal performances, all(if I'm not mistaken) recorded by a jazz fan at Minton's Playhouse in 1940. These recordings are rightly famous, especially the piece called variously "Swing to bop" or "Charlie's Choice" (actually based on the Count Basie band's "Topsy"); the recording here gives two full solos by Christian, rather than the single one I've since heard on some truncated re-issues. The sound quality is pretty poor, with people shouting and carrying on in the background, but the atmospherics have their own value and in any event jazz fans can't always demand Madonna and Britney Spears high fidelity. You can tell what these great musicians were doing, which is what matters. There's a strong R&B and bluesy element, and yes, what you might call proto-bebop.
The trouble comes with the last five tracks. The sound quality improved dramatically, suggesting studio recording, but what was really striking was how much Charlie had changed! As well as the musicians around him. Man, one of those guys sounded just like Charlie Parker! And that trumpet player is the mostly AGILE cat I've ever heard! Who could that have been, playing advanced, not proto- bebop, before the end of 1942? (Charlie went into a TB asylum that summer and died late in the year, one of the great untimely deaths of jazz.) Well, these turned out to be Musicraft studio recordings from 1945, with Bird, Dizzy Gillespie and a guitarist who was NOT Charlie Christian. It was Remo Palmeri, a fine musician but not the guy on the cover. These five tracks are among the greatest music in jazz, but Charlie Christian is only there as a ghost.
You'll encounter this kind of thing occasionally with LaserLight packages. I suppose some people enjoy the detective work. They're cheap, and they really do deliver some great music, but they're not for neophytes seeking an introduction to the music.
The music from both sessions, different as they are, deserves all five stars. The packaging problem brings it down to three."