Mar. 2, 1942 Staten Island Richmond County (Staten Island) New York, USA
Jazz Musician. A native of Bonham, Texas, he was born Charles Henry Christian. A legend on the electric guitar he was discovered by record producer John Hammond. He began playing the piano while in Oklahoma in 1937, and then began to experiment with the amplified guitar. After his discovery by John Hammond he went to Los Angeles, California, to meet jazz musician Benny Goodman, and to try out for his jazz band, the 'Goodman Sextet.' Goodman liked what he heard and was reluctant to hire Christian because of the new style of instrument he used, but quickly changed his mine when Christian played it. He played with Goodman's band for two years at such places as the Minton's Playhouse in New York City with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Clarke, and Thelonious Monk. Known as a 'develop of Bebop' he sang on many Goodman hits including, 'Rose Room,' 'Solo Flight,' 'Waiting For Benny,' and 'Blues In B.' Other recordings by Christian include, 'Flying Home,' 'Seven Come Eleven,' 'Swing To Bop,' and 'Up On Teddy's Hill.' In 1941, he contracted tuberculosis and pneumonia, and died the following year at the age of 25. Although he wasn't around for very long he helped to pave the way for future guitar greats such as Jimi Hendrix, T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Les Paul, and Wes Montgomery, among others. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence in 1990. (bio by: K)
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