Charlie Christian Boxed Set On The Way


Unraveling The mystique and influence of one of the most innovative musicians of the last century, Charlie Christian: The Genius Of The Electric Guitar (Columbia/Legacy) sheds a floodlight—musically and biographically—on the guitarist’s incandescent career, which ended at age 25. Gathered for the first time on a four-CD boxed set, the first comprehensive collection of Columbia recordings that Charlie Christian made while a member of Benny Goodman’s Sextet and Orchestra from 1939 to 1941 (with one side trip on the Metronome All Star Nine), will arrive in stores Sept. 24.

Beginning on his first Columbia recording date with producer John Hammond and the Benny Goodman Sextet in October 1939—which yielded “Flying Home,” “Rose Room” and “Star Dust”—the Texas-born, Oklahoma-raised Christian lays the groundwork that earned him a title usually reserved for Albert Einstein and Ray Charles. Genius tracks Christian’s 14 extant Columbia studio dates spanning 17 months through March 1941 (one year before his death), when he recorded “Solo Flight” with the orchestra, the signature by which the famed Gibson ES150 guitarist would be known. The first Goodman feature actually built around Christian, “Solo Flight” found him in transition to the nascent bebop movement, upon which fellow conspirator Thelonious Monk and others considered him a primal force.

Lavishly packaged in a boxed set designed to simulate the appearance of a vintage Gibson amplifier (the classic Amelia Earhart “Tweed” luggage finish), Genius is a major commemoration of Christian. The four discs present some 40 songs over the course of 98 tracks—17 of which have never before surfaced anywhere in the world, 27 of which have never before been issued in the United States.

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On Sale Now
July 2022
Sean Jones
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