1. BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL
Allen, W. C. (1974). Hendersonia: The Music
of Fletcher Henderson and His Musicians.
Highland Park, New Jersey: Author.
Bio-discography of Fletcher Henderson which includes some
excerpts of rarely quoted reviews and comment on CC from contemporary periodicals,
chronology of engagements for Benny Goodmans band from June 1939 to January 1941
(i.e., covering most of CCs tenure), discography, and photographs (including a rare
one of CC).
Arnold, Anita G. (1994). Charlie and the
Deuce. Oklahoma City: Black Liberated Arts Center.
Booklet with reminiscences by Margretta Downey (mother of CCs
only child) and Billie Johnson (CCs daughter) about CC and his early life; many
photographs, including several taken from the LeoValdes collection; history of
Second Street the deuce (site of venues where CCs early
band played) and the musical culture of Oklahoma City in that era. Billies
account mentions her collection of newspaper cuttings and chronology of CCs
engagements, and details are given of some of the locations where CC played throughout his
() (1995). Legendary Times and Tales
of Second Street. Oklahoma City: Black Liberated Arts Center.
Booklet sketching the history of Second Street in Oklahoma City, its
commercial history, and entertainment and musical venues. Includes some photographs
of CC taken from Leo Valdes collection, and biographical material, some drawn from
() (ed.) (1995). Charlie
Christian Photo Collection. Oklahoma City: Black Liberated Arts Center.
Booklet with forty-seven photographs taken from the collection of
Also reprinted articles: The Advent of Charlie Christian (John Hammond),
The Charlie Christian Story (Ralph Ellison), and Guitarmen, Wake Up and
Pluck (Charlie Christian).
Balliett, Whitney. (1972). Jazz Records
column. The New Yorker. May 20. pp. 127-134.
Short biography and record review, also includes a report of Mary Lou
Williams playing with CC in Oklahoma City, discussing with him the offer to join Goodman,
their practising together at Dewey Square hotel when she visited New York, and his playing
classical guitar (e.g., Rhapsody in Blue) on those occasions; mentions also
some comments by CC on playing with Goodman.
Bechtel, Brad. (1998). Brads Page of
Steel. Internet site: http://www.well.com/.
[site last updated 1998; reviewed March
Reports that steel-guitarist Noel Boggs, b. Oklahoma City, 1917, and
member of many well-known Western Swing bands, was a close friend of CC. Notes that
Boggs arranged some of CCs solos for three guitars.
[The source for this information is believed to be an interview with Boggs published in
the 1970s by Guitar Player magazine.]
Blesh, Rudy. (1971). Combo: USA.
Philadelphia: Chilton. Ch. Flying Home. pp. 162-186.
Describes the musical culture of Oklahoma City at the time of CCs
childhood, and his early musical development, with excerpts from an interview with Ralph
Ellison. Recounts jam sessions at Hallies shoeshine parlor where CC and other
local musicians jammed with players from Al Trents orchestra and other territory
bands, and how in the mid-30s CC joined Trents sextet on bass. An
account of his later career and recordings with Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, and at
Mintons is given, based upon other sources cited here.
van der Bliek, Rob (ed.) (2001). The Thelonious Monk
Reader. Oxford University Press.
[see Sales (2001) and Hoefer (2001)]
Blumenthal, Bob. (1980). Charlie
Christian. Musician, October. pp. 66-67.
Records CCs first professional job as playing bass with Al Trent.
States he led his own band in Oklahoma City in 1937, when he started to play electric
guitar. CC cited Clarence Loves guitarist Jim Daddy Walker as his
inspiration. Relates his return to Al Trent, meeting with Oscar Pettiford, and possible
stint with Jeter-Pillars, also his stay at the Hotel Cecil (location of Mintons)
when with Goodman.
Boyd, Jean Ann. (1998). The Jazz of the
Southwest: An Oral History of Western Swing.
Austin: University of Texas. pp.
Reviews CCs role in the development of jazz guitar in the
Southwest. In a chapter on the rhythm section, Clarence Buell Cagle of Oklahoma City
recalls learning jazz piano in jam sessions with CC and brother Eddie. At one time,
he was working for several months next door to CC and they would jam together during
breaks. Eldon Shamblin tells of listening to CC playing in Oklahoma City clubs
[cf. Townsend, 1976].
Broadbent, Peter. (1997). Charlie
Christian. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Ashley Mark.
Biographical account with chronology, selective discography (with cross
referenced album and title indexes), new interviews of musicians with first-hand accounts
of CC (including Kenny Clarke, Al Casey, John Collins, Nick Fatool, Benny Garcia, Jerry
Jerome, Al Viola, et al), short biographies of contemporaries, reproductions of album
covers and details of published notations. Also includes chapter on the guitars and
amplifiers used by CC. Details splicing on issued versions of Breakfast
Feud, Good Enough to Keep and others.
() (2002). His Life.
In: Booklet accompanying CD box set:
Charlie Christian: The Genius of
the Electric Guitar. Columbia C4K 65564.
A review of CCs early life, family, education, and career,
drawing upon familiar sources but also supplemented with original research, including
material from the Black Dispatch. The account includes details of
his engagements in 1931-1934 in Oklahoma City, those with his own band in 1939, and
further appearances in 1940 in that city.
() (2003). Charlie
Christian. Vintage Guitar Magazine, Vol. 17, No. 04, March. pp. 80-83.
Presents a brief history of CCs early life and musical career,
with information on the social and economic circumstances of the time. It includes
also an evaluation of CCs historical importance.
() (2003). Charlie Christian:
Solo Flight The Story of the Seminal Electric Guitarist. 2nd Ed.
Blaydon on Tyne: Ashley Mark.
Revised and updated version of 1997 publication.
Bryant, Clora, et al (eds.) (1998). Central Avenue
Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles.
Berkeley: University of California.
pp. 59, 200-201.
Lee Young refers in passing to CC playing with him, Blanton, Byas, et
al. Upstairs at the Union [cf. Epstein, 1999]. Illinois Jacquet
describes a Labor Day parade [possibly 1940?] arranged by Local 767 through Central Avenue
with CC, himself, Blanton, Nat Cole and others.
[original interview apparently from Los Angeles Times, June 11, 1989]
Callendar, Red, & Elaine Cohen. (1985).
Unfinished Dream: The Musical World of Red Callendar.
London: Quartet Books. pp. 44, 194.
Discusses the Capri club, owned by Billy Berg, located on
La Cienega and Pico in Hollywood. Lee Young organized after-hours jams there, and on
one occasion [apparently in late 39 or early 40, when CC was with Goodman] CC
visited with Jimmy Blanton and Lionel Hampton and all three jammed together.
Documents 1944 recording dates with Emmanuel Duke Brooks [cf. Carr, 1998].
Carr, Ian. (1998). Miles Davis: The
Definitive Biography. London: Harper Collins. pp. 12-15.
Reviews a 1964 Down Beat interview with Davis, in which he relates that
Emmanuel St. Claire Duke Brooks demonstrated to him some of CCs music
[this may be the Brooks referred to by Callender & Cohen (1985) since he is described
as recording with Callender]; Davis also mentions that Kansas City trumpeter Buddy
Anderson [cf. Gillespie & Fraser, 1982] who was with Billy Eckstine, played like CC.
Centlivre, Kevin. (ca. 1998). Unpublished interview with
Clarence Christian (Charlies brother) conducted 1978.
Details of the circumstances of this interview about CC (though little
about its substance) are reported in the Bonham page of the Garry Hansen CC
web site, Charlie Christian: Legend of the Jazz Guitar. http://www3.nbnet.nb.ca/hansen/Charlie/bonham.htm
() (2000). Charlie Was
Something: An Interview with Jerry Jerome.
At Internet site: Charlie
Christian: Legend of the Jazz Guitar
[reviewed June 2001]
Interviewed in 1993, Jerome recalls CCs time with the Goodman
band and his reaction to fame. He also discusses CCs contribution to the
development of bop, and accounts of CC in other musicians autobiographies.
Mention is made of CCs baseball playing, and his stylish dress.
() (2001). Revisiting Charlie
At Internet site: Charlie
Christian: Legend of the Jazz Guitar.
[reviewed March 2001]
Review of CCs life and music that draws in part on interviews
with Clarence Christian and Jerry Jerome conducted by the author. Clarence refers to
CCs playing baseball, and tells how CC would listen to his own records at home and
then further develop ideas from them; Jerome recounts that CC learned solos from
Basie records. Traces specific records/solos that may have been adapted by CC in his
solos or compositions.
Christian, Charlie. (1939). Guitarmen, Wake Up and
Pluck! Wire for Sound; Let Em Hear You Play.
Down Beat, December 1.
CC examines the role of the electric guitar as a solo and band
instrument, and discusses several of the contemporary guitarists.
[reprinted in Down Beat, 10 July 1969; Guitar Player, March 1982; and Down
Beat, January 2005]
Collette, Buddy, with Steven Isoardi. (2000). Jazz
Generations: A Life in American Music and Society.
New York: Continuum. p. 105.
Collette describes meeting Charlie Parker, and recounts that Parker
commented about being influenced by CCs tone. Collette then tells how he heard
CC: And [CC] was marvelous. You could put a lyric to everything he
played. In fact, I heard him with Art Tatum. Those were the giants around here
at the time. [here may refer to Los Angeles, where Collette lived
until sometime in 1941, although it is not clear cf. Epstein, 1999.]
Crow, Bill. (1990). Jazz Anecdotes.
New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 158, 261-262.
Harry Edison relates that CC and Freddie Green were close friends, and
that CC gave Green an amplifier; Jerry Jerome recalls a conversation between Benny
Goodman and CC: Goodman passes on startling news about the German blitzkrieg in
Europe, to which CC replies with (the apparently characteristic) Solid.
Dahl, Linda. (1984). Stormy Weather: The
Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen.
London: Quartet. pp. 55, 261-262.
Reports that Anna Mae Winburn led the band, the Cotton Club Boys, in
Omaha, Nebraska, which included CC. Interview with Mary Osborne relates how she
first heard CC with Al Trents band, their meeting, and their friendship.
Osborne indicates that CC played a Reinhardt solo chorus on stage: ...the
first thing that Charlie played at the floor show was St. Louis Blues by
Django Reinhardt. But Charlie didnt say that, he just played it, only it was
on electric guitar.
() (1999). Morning Glory: A
Biography of Mary Lou Williams.
Berkeley: University of California.
Delilah Jackson (historian and confidante of Mary Lou) reports John
Hammonds comments on Goodmans reluctance to hire CC, and resistance to having
black musicians in the band. She also quotes CC complaining to Mary Lou about his
ideas being stolen by Goodman.
Dance, Helen Oakley. (1987). Stormy Monday:
The T-Bone Walker Story.
Baton Rouge: Louisiana State
University. pp. 2, 23.
Biography of T-Bone Walker, that reports CC and Walker became friends
in their teens and jammed together. Relates that both were taught by Oklahoma
guitarist Chuck Richardson. Walker refers to a high school band in which he himself
played, and states: After a while I left, and Charlie Christian took my place
for a time... [cf. Santelli, 1994]
Driggs, Franklin S. (1975). Kansas City and the
Southwest. In: Nat Hentoff & Albert J. McCarthy (eds.)
Jazz: New Perspectives on the
History of Jazz by Twelve of the Foremost Jazz Critics and Scholars.
New York: Da Capo.
Although has only one paragraph on CC, gives history of some of the
southwestern or territory bands in which CC played or which are associated with him, e.g.,
those of Alphonso Trent, Walter Pages Blue Devils, and others. Also identifies
some of the members of the Al Trent combo CC played with in 1938.
() (1978). Liner notes to Jazz Archives LP
JA-42 Lester Young and Charlie Christian 1939-1940.
Gives details of CCs time with the Alphonso Trent band (e.g.,
states the band played only two venues, one in Casper, Wyoming and another in Deadwood,
South Dakota); details CCs meeting with Lester Young in Oklahoma City;
also refers to several guitar players from whom CC learned, including Jim
Daddy Walker (guitarist with Clarence Loves band in Kansas City), and specific
occasions when they met.
Ellison, Ralph. (1964). Shadow and
Act. New York: Random House.
Essay The Charlie Christian
Story. pp. 23-40.
[reprinted essay from 17 May 1958
Saturday Review magazine]
Ellison recalls his schooldays with CC, CCs musical education,
and the musicians in his family. Describes CCs time at Douglass School where he made
guitars, and reports that CC was aware of many forms of music other than blues (e.g.,
playing light classics with his familys band, and receiving a broad musical
education at school). Outlines the various musical influences (including Lester
Young) on CC at that time, and discusses the general importance of jazz history.
() (1986). Going to the
Territory. New York: Random House.
Symposium Address: What the
Children Are Like. (1963). pp. 71-72.
Brief reference to CC, in context of a lecture on education;
states that, despite his later accomplishments, CC did not take part in musical activities
() (1995). Living with
Music. Reprinted in: OMeally (2001). p. 8
Discussing his own trumpet playing, Ellison mentions how at school he
was inspired by the considerable virtuosity of CC playing marvelous riffs
on a cigar-box banjo.
() (2001). My Strength Comes from
Louis Armstrong. In: OMeally (2001). p. 266
Interviewed in 1976 by OMeally, Ellison recalls playing gigs with
CCs brother Edward, and comments on the heroic stature of the two
Epstein, Daniel Mark. (1999). Nat King
Cole. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. p. 71.
Lee Young (brother of Lester), interviewed by the author, tells how
(apparently in 1938) he obtained a room above the musicians union hall in Los
Angeles for jamming with Nat Cole and others; CC, described as guitar
virtuoso, tap dancer, and prizefighter, would sit in; Lee adds that CC also
played with Art Tatum at Ivies Chicken Shack restaurant on Vernon &
Central Avenues [cf. Collette, 2000].
Feather, Leonard. (1961). The Book of Jazz.
London: The Jazz Book Club. pp. 114-116, 239-241.
Gives Eddie Durhams account of introducing CC in 1937 to the
electric guitar, and tutoring him in solo playing. Describes CCs playing in
N.D. bands, using guitar as solo instrument, and Mary Osborne studying with him.
Includes solo notation and analysis of phrasing and contour.
() (1977). Inside Jazz.
New York: Da Capo. pp. 5-8.
Describes CCs early career, including playing with Al
Trents band in Bismarck, N.D., as recounted by guitarist Mary Osborne. His
performances at Mintons are described through accounts by Jerry Newman and Kenny
() (1986). The Jazz Years:
Earwitness to an Era. London: Quartet. pp. ??, 138.
Feather recalls that CC played with the Goodman Sextet in the Broadway
show Swingin the Dream (details in Allen, 1970); adds a
reminiscence by Bud Freeman about a particular number in the show where the group were
most effective; discusses the Sweethearts of Rhythm, noting that Anna Mae Winburn
also led an all-male band including CC.
Ferris, Leonard. (1975). Mary Osborne: A
Unique Roll [sic] in Jazz Guitar History.
In: Jazz Guitarists:
Collected Interviews from Guitar Player Magazine.
Saratoga, California: Guitar Player
Productions. pp. 78-79.
Brief passage describes how Mary Osborne heard CC play in Bismark,
N.D., with the Al Trent sextet, (including a rendition note-for-note of Django
Reinhardts St. Louis Blues), and records that they later became friends,
after she was inspired to take up the electric guitar by what she had heard.
Firestone, Ross. (1993). Swing, Swing,
Swing: The Life and Times of Benny Goodman.
London: Hodder and Stoughton. pp.
Jimmy Maxwell (1987 interview with author) recollects CCs time
with Goodman. So much did Goodman admire CC (and Hampton), the Sextet sometimes
played for an hour or more when the Orchestra took a break. On the band bus, CC
would sing Lester Young solos and also a favorite song, Shimme Shewaba.
Maxwell reports Goodman paid CC full salary when he was sick, and comments on his
Gillespie, Dizzy, with Al Fraser. (1982).
Dizzy: To Be or Not to Bop: The Autobiography of Dizzy Gillespie.
London: Quartet Books. pp. 117-119.
Interview with trumpeter Buddy Anderson [cf. Carr, 1988] in which he
states he was playing with CC in a band in Oklahoma City at the time John Hammond arranged
for CCs audition with Goodman.
Gitler, Ira. (1985). Swing to Bop. New
York: Oxford. pp. 40-43.
Interviews with jazz musicians, including James Moody, Milt Hinton,
Mary Lou Williams, Eddie Barefield, Biddy Fleet, Jay McShann, Barney Kessel, and
others. Describes Kessels meeting with CC in Oklahoma City, also Mary Lou
Williams friendship with CC, and their joint composition.
Goins, Wayne. (2004a). Searching for Charlie
Christian. Jazz Improv, Vol. 4, No. 4. Summer. pp. 68-76.
Describes the origins of the authors research into CC, his
travels with Leo Valdes to Oklahoma City and how they there met people who had known CC,
and how they located previously unpublished, or little-known source material.
Reports on the CC Jazz Festival. [continued with following article].
() (2004b). Searching for Charlie
Christian: Part II. Jazz Improv, Vol. 5, No. 1. Autumn. pp.
Reports meetings and interviews with CCs daughter and her mother
in Oklahoma City and details the background to research by Craig McKinney and Kevin
Centlivre. It describes further background research for the authors planned
books (with co-authors McKinney and Leo Valdes) on CC. Reports on the passing of
Wayne E., & Craig R. McKinney. (2005).
“A Biography of Charlie Christian, Jazz Guitars
King of Swing.
Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press.
chronological account, drawing on extensive original interviews with family members,
previously unused oral history, contemporary newspaper articles, and other sources. Includes critical evaluations of previous
commentators (such as Ralph Ellison) and seeks to reconcile conflicting historical
accounts, e.g. Eddie Durhams
recollections of CC.
Goodman, Benny. (1982). On Charlie Christian:
Benny Goodman. Guitar Player, March.
Brief interview by Jas Obrecht covers CCs time with the Goodman
bands, covering his role in bebop developments, his popularity, and influence on other
Greenhough, Jane. (1947). T-Bone Walkers
Story in His Own Words.
[from stenographic notes by Jane Greenhough]
Record Exchanger [sic], October.
[may refer to The Record Changer,
source is e-mailed text from an old photostat of original article].
T-Bone relates that before he moved to California he played with CC at
root beer stands (he compares these to the drive-ins of the time), where they
would pass around a cigar-box for customers to put in money.
Hammond, John. (1966). The Advent of Charlie
Christian. Down Beat, August 25.
Describes how Hammond (on Mary Lou Williams recommendation) first
heard CC play in Oklahoma in 1939, (in a band including his brother) and arranged his
subsequent audition with Benny Goodman in Los Angeles, at the Victor Hugo night club.
Recalls the audition, eventually resulting in a 45-minute version of Rose
Room, the ecstatic audience reactions, and also describes the Spirituals to
Swing concerts. Discusses CCs playing in jam sessions at Mintons,
and relates his illness and death. Implies that many of the Goodman tunes credited
to the leader and Hampton were mainly CCs work.
() (1981). John Hammond: On
Record. Harmondsworth: Penguin. pp. 223-228, 231-233.
This article covers similar events to Hammond (1966).
() (1982). On Charlie Christian:
John Hammond. Guitar Player, March.
This article also covers similar ground to Hammond (1966).
Hampton, Lionel, with James Haskins. (1989).
Hamp: An Autobiography. London: Robson Books. pp.
Describes CCs audition with the Benny Goodman Sextetthe
account is similar to Hammonds (1966); adds the observation that CC and
Goodman did not get on together very well, but inspired each other musically.
Handy, D. Antoinette. (1998). The International
Sweethearts of Rhythm. (Revised Ed.)
Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow.
Only one brief reference to CC in a comprehensive history of this band,
with whom CC is said to have played. Even then, CC is mentioned only in the context
of a review of prominent black artists by the Negro Handbook. No details
are given of CCs connection with the Sweethearts.
Hennessey, Mike. (1990). Klook: The Story of
Kenny Clarke. New York: Quartet Books.
Gives an account of CCs role in composing Epistrophy
and Rhythm-a-ning, and how he demonstrated to Clarke chord playing on the
ukulele, during a visit to the Douglas Hotel in N.Y. Also describes CCs
appreciation of the rhythm section at Mintons.
Hoefer, George. (2001). In: van der Bliek
(2001). pp. 14-18.
[reprint of Hotbox: Thelonious Monk
in the 40s. Down Beat, October 25, 1962.]
Describes Mintons and the way music was presented there in the
1940s; states that CC sat in with the house band on Mondays, and that his
playing drew attention from musicians all over town.
Jackson, Lawrence. (2002). Ralph Ellison:
Emergence of Genius. New York: John Wiley. p. 65.
In this account of the writing of Invisible Man, it is
reported that CC did not play in any of (his school teacher) Zelia N. Breaux
bands; it is implied that this was because he would not renounce the music of his
roots. [cf. Ellison, 1986]
Kessel, Barney. (1977). Meeting Charlie
Christian. Guitar Player, XI, January. pp. 10, 71-72.
Relates how CC came to hear Kessel in Oklahoma City in October
1940. CC played Kessels guitar with the band, the two later went out to eat,
and discussed music, guitar players, etc. and agreed to jam together the next afternoon.
() (1977). Jamming with Charlie
Christian. Guitar Player, XI, February. pp. 10, 74, 80.
Tells how Kessel met CC at a club, where they played with a pianist,
bass player, and later a tenor saxophone. CC, whose guitar and amplifier is
described, played louder than Kessel, who recalls he had played solos based on CCs
own lines up to then. They never met again.
() (1982). On Charlie Christian:
Barney Kessel. Guitar Player, March.
Interviewed by Jas Obrecht, Kessel discusses Christians tone,
harmonic sense, and guitar technique, relates how he met CC, played with him, and
discusses his influence on other jazz guitarists.
Lester, James. (1994). Too Marvelous for
Words: The Life and Genius of Art Tatum.
New York: Oxford University Press.
Nothing about Tatum playing with CC [cf. Collette, 2000], but Les Paul,
interviewed by the author, describes playing with CC at Mintons: I
remember one night that [CC] and I were up there battling on guitar, with Leonard
Ware. There were three guitar players in this town that were good. There was
And they had [CC] who I knew from Oklahoma cause thats where
I met him, out in Oklahoma before he ever joined Benny, and [
] the three of us,
wed go up there and wed battle it out.
Mongan, Norman. (1983). The History of the Guitar
in Jazz. Oak Publications.
Ch. 6 Charlies Solo
Flight. pp. 79-94.
Discusses the history of guitar amplification, and the respective roles
of Durham, Floyd Smith, CC and others in this process. Reviews CCs career, and
describes a phrase in Eddie Durhams 1935 solo [sic] on Luncefords
Avalon which CC adapted in a 1940 Gilly break.
Morgan, Alun, & Raymond Horricks. (1956).
Modern Jazz: A survey of Developments Since 1939.
London: Gollancz. Ch. II
Christian and the Minton Sessions. pp. 30-42, passim.
A critical appraisal of CCs contribution to the development of
jazz guitar, in the swing era though to bop. Examines specifically the role of
guitar in ensembles, and also describes how CC would play with Goodman at the Pennsylvania
Hotel during the day, then afterwards go to Mintons to jam.
Murray, Charles Shaar. (1981). Crosstown
Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and Post-war Pop.
London: Faber & Faber. pp.
Ch. 5 Never to Grow Old:
Robert Johnson, Charlie Christian and the Meteorite Syndrome.
Traces CCs career and examines parallels between him and Hendrix.
Nicholson, Stuart. (ca. 1989). Axe of the
Apostles. The Wire. pp. 36, 72.
Examines CCs influence upon jazz, blues, and R&B guitar
players, and his role in the development of Bop. Includes discussion of influence on
T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, and Chuck Berry; also notes CCs friendship with steel
guitarist Noel Boggs.
Obrecht, Jas. (1982). Charlie Christian:
First Star of the Electric Guitar. Guitar Player, March.
Outlines CCs career, describes his principal recording sessions,
relates how Mary Osborne heard him for the first time, and considers Eddie Durhams
meeting with CC and account of tutoring him.
() (2000). Saunders King.
In: Obrecht Rollin and Tumblin: The Postwar Blues
San Francisco: Miller Freeman. pp.
[interview with King originally
published in edited form in Living Blues, March/April 1996]
King tells how CC visited Jacks Tavern in San Francisco, when
touring with Goodman and Hampton. He was invited to play, and performed Star
Dust solo on Kings guitar. Ben Webster joined him later and both
apparently played for some time. Indicates CC played at several San Francisco clubs
at this time, and refers to his fondness for dancing. King explains how, even though
he had admired CCs records, hearing and seeing him play live was a quite different
Oliphant, Dave. (1993). Eddie Durham and the Texas
Contribution to Jazz History.
Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. XCVI,
April. pp. 490-525.
Traces Durhams career and role in the development of jazz.
Short section on Durhams influence on CC; argues Durham helped pass on the
tradition of Western Swing to CC.
() (1996). Texan Jazz.
Austin: University of Texas. pp. 196-202.
Reviews CCs career, and examines how the various musical
traditions in Texas (e.g. Western Swing guitar playing) influenced him. Draws upon
many of the well known sources that analyse CCs style (e.g. Schuller, 1989) and
describes key events in his life. Adds some additional comments about CCs
style, e.g. the use of quotations in his solos.
OMeally, Robert G. (ed.) (2001).
Living with Music: Ralph Ellisons Jazz Writings.
New York: Modern Library.
[see Ellison, Ralph]
ONeal, Jim. (1972). Living Blues.
[probably issue No. 11, Winter 1972-73]
Interview with T-Bone Walker that indicates CC led the Lawson-Brooks
band after replacing him in the band in 1934. He met CC in 1933 when the the latter
was still at school; they had an act where they would alternate on guitar and bass,
and then both go into a tap dance routine. CCs brother Edward played piano.
Patoski, Joe Nick & Bill Crawford. (1993).
Caught in the Crossfire. Boston: Little, Brown and Co. pp.
In this biography of Stevie Ray Vaughan, it is claimed that both CC and
T-Bone Walker swapped licks with Oklahoma City guitarist Chuck Richardson, who
encouraged them in a horn-like method of playing. [original source for this
information is unclear]
Patrick, James. (1983). Al Tinney, Monroes
Uptown House, and the Emergence of Modern Jazz in Harlem.
Annual Review of Jazz Studies, 2. pp.
Interview with Tinney (a relatively unknown pianist who led the
Monroes house band) in which he mentions that he played with CC, and describes how
he placed his amplifier in the curve of the grand piano at the club.
Paul, Les. (2002). My Friend, Charlie
Christian. In: Booklet accompanying CD box set:
Charlie Christian: The Genius of the
Electric Guitar. Columbia C4K 65564.
Paul describes meeting CC, and how he sat in at a Bob Wills gig in
Tulsa, also their subsequent friendship in New York, where they experimented with new
models of guitar, and jammed together at Mintons. [cf. Lester,
1994; Sudhalter, 1999].
Perry, Bea Poling. (1978). Noel Boggs.
Guitar Player, January 1978. pp. 43-44.
Reports that steel guitar player Noel Boggs (b. Oklahoma, 1917), an
important figure in Western Swing, was a close friend of CC, and played with him before he
became famous. Notes that Boggs adapted CC solos from the Goodman band, harmonizing
them for three guitars.
Placksin, Sally. (1985). Jazzwomen 1900 to the
Present: Their Words, Lives and Music.
London: Pluto Press. pp. 145-148.
Interview with Anna Mae Winburn gives only a one-line mention of CC but
describes how she led the Sweethearts of Rhythm from 1941 until it disbanded. Her
manager retained the Oklahoma City band known as the Kansas City Blue Devils for her to
lead at the outbreak of the war. They were then billed as Anna Mae Winburn and her
Cotton Club Boys CC was in the band...oh, it was a terrific bunch. We
were really settin the West on fire.
Ponzio, Jacques & Francois Postif. (1995).
Blue Monk: Portrait de Thelonious Monk.
Actes Sud: Hubert Nyssen Editeur.
[translated from Sales (1960) I Wanted to Make It
Better: Monk at the Black Hawk. Jazz: A Quarterly of American
Porter, Horace. (1999). Jazz Beginnings:
Ralph Ellison and Charlie Christian in Oklahoma City.
The Antioch Review, 57: (3), Summer. pp.
Discusses Ellisons writings about jazz, and CC in
particular. Argues that Ellison saw CC as a prime example of how a black jazz
musician could flourish despite the oppression of segregation in the middle of the 20th
century. Examines the racial climate of Oklahoma City and how that may have
contributed to CCs development as a musician.
() (2001). Jazz Country: Ralph
Ellison in America. Iowa City: University of Iowa.
Ch. 1 is a revised version of Porters (1999) essay, with a new
section on parallels between the careers of Goodman and CC.
Ch. 7 discusses critiques (particularly that of Jerry Watts (Watts, 1994)) of
Ellisons writings, including his interpretation of CCs life and career.
Porter, Lewis. (1985). Lester Young.
London: Macmillan. p. 9.
A short section recounts Youngs visit to Oklahoma City with The
Thirteen Original Blue Devils (apparently in Spring 1932), at which time he jammed after
hours at Slaughters Hall, and there met CC.
Proper Records. (2002). T-Bone Walker: The
Original Source. CD Box Set.
Proper Records, Properbox38 (Biographical
T-Bone describes an occasion when he collected CC from an airport
(presumably Los Angeles) and took him to a recording session with Benny Goodman at CBS
studios. [original source for this is not clear].
Russell, Ross. (1960). Bebop.
In: Martin Williams.
The Art of Jazz: Essays on the
Nature and Development of Jazz.
London: Cassell. p. 193.
Contains only one paragraph on CC, which refers to his work with the
Goodman sextet and at Mintons, his influence on the development of bebop, and the
guitars role in the music.
() (1971). Jazz Style in Kansas City
and the Southwest.
Berkeley: University of California
Press. pp. 229-231.
Discusses guitar players of the Southwestern school,
tracing CCs career with Al Trent and the Jeter-Pillars orchestras in St. Louis, then
his stay with Benny Goodman. Outlines main record sessions, examines his influence
on other guitarists, and briefly discusses his phrasing and compositions.
Sales, Grover. (2001). In: van der Bliek
(2001). pp. 100-109.
[reprint of I Wanted to Make it Better:
Monk at the Blackhawk.
Jazz: A Quarterly of American Music, vol.
5, pp. 31-41, 1960.]
Quotes Monk recollecting CCs comments about Goodman.
Evidently, CC thought Goodman didnt swing, but the bandleader was unaware of this,
believing CC had a high opinion of him.
Sallis, James. (1982). The Guitar Players:
One Instrument and Its Masters in American Music.
New York: Quill. Ch.
Charlies Guitar. pp. 97-120.
Comments on the scarcity of authenticated information about CC, and
discusses the likely accuracy of some accounts (e.g., Eddie Durhams). Reviews
CCs career, identifying his brothers band as the Jolly Jugglers, and examines
his influence compared with that of other guitarists. Relates that Goodman used
colored players only in a chamber group featured during the big bands
Santelli, Robert. (1994). The Big Book of
Blues: A Biographical Encyclopedia. London: Pavilion. p.
Entry on T-Bone Walker states that the blues guitarist played with the
Lawson Brooks Band (a Texas band) before going to California in 1934, and that
Walkers departure from the Brooks band enabled his friend, Charlie Christian,
to take his place... [cf. Dance, 1987]
Savage, William W. Jr. (1990). The Two Charlie
Christians: Separating the Man from the Legend.
Oklahoma Gazette, May 2.
Explores how some CC biographers may have promoted certain myths, in
order to advance a particular theory of black culture, and how this relates to his musical
Scanlan, Tom. (1996). The Joy of Jazz: Swing
Era, 1939-1947. Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum. p. 102.
Author reports hearing the Goodman Sextet live, when CCs solos
were longer than on records; states that CC was allowed to play chorus after
chorus at times.
Scott, Tom. (1992). The Genius and Legacy of
Charlie Christian. The Bonham Daily Favorite, March 1. p. 3.
Examines CCs early life in Bonham, describing his family and
their musical talents. Reports CC was encouraged by music teacher Zelia N. Breaux to
learn trumpet and then studied guitar with Ralph Hamilton. CCs first public
performance is reported as 1930, when he sat in with Don Redmonds orchestra.
Shapiro, Nat & Nat Hentoff (eds.) (1955). Hear
Me Talkin to Ya. New York: Rinehart. passim.
Interviews with musicians mention CC several times. Johnny
Guarnieri talks about relationships in the Goodman band, Mary Lou Williams relates that CC
was one of the few who could run changes with Monk, and recalls how she and CC
played and wrote together in a hotel basement. Kenny Clarke also mentions CCs
close relationship to Monk.
Shaughnessy, Mary Alice. (1993). Les Paul:
An American Original.
New York: William Morrow and
Company. p. 91.
Relates how Les Paul used to play with CC at Mintons, exchanging
solos [cf. James, 1994]. Charlies phrasing showed excellent
taste. He knew when to lay out and leave a hole. He straightened my head out
Shaw, Arnold. (1977). 52nd St.: The Street
of Jazz. New York: Da Capo. p. 308.
Johnny Guarnieri tells how, when he first joined Benny Goodmans
Sextet, the band, with CC, opened at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh; there was no
advance notice except an announcement in Down Beat.
Shepherd, Joe. (2001). Joes Home Page:
Ham Radio, Music and Related.
[online at URL: http://home.att.net/~joeshepherd/main.html]
[accessed August 23, 2001]
Includes index to, and text extracts from, many issues of the
periodical Jazz Information, 1939-1940, in which there are several brief
reports about CC, including recording sessions, and reviews of his concerts and shows.
Shipman, Jerome S. (1996). In Search of the
Electric Guitar: A Platonic Dialog with Music.
Annual Review of Jazz Studies 7, 1994-95.
Imaginary dialog about musical genres and musicians who influenced CC,
and his influence on later guitarists. Includes photograph of CC with Leslie
Sheffield and His Rhythmaires, and discography of records referred to in text.
Shipton, Alyn. (1999). Groovin High:
The Life of Dizzy Gillespie. New York: Oxford University Press. p.
Gillespie (1976 interview with Charles Fox) discusses Mintons and
the band that played there (Monk, Kenny Clarke, et al.). Then Charlie Christian used
to come down every night and all of us used to congregate in Mintons and then, after
hours, at The Uptown House.
Siders, Harvey. (1975). Irving Ashby:
Playing with the Greats.
In: Jazz Guitarists:
Collected Interviews from Guitar Player Magazine.
Saratoga, California: Guitar Player
A paragraph in the interview describes Ashbys rooming with CC in
Chicago (when CC was with Goodman), and their taking part in jam sessions with other
members of the Goodman band, Hamptons band (with whom Ashby was playing), and
Siegel, Joel A. & Jas Obrecht. (1979).
Eddie Durham: Charlie
Christians Mentor, Pioneer of the Amplified Guitar.
Guitar Player, August. pp. 55-62.
Reports that Durham stayed in Oklahoma City in 1937 and met CC who was
then playing piano. CC liked Durhams electrified guitar sound, and Durham gave
him some instruction on picking and strokes. They met again several times for
further lessons after CC had bought himself a cheap guitar.
Simon, Bill. (1957). In: Nat Shapiro & Nat
Hentoff (eds.) The Jazz Makers. New York: Grove.
Ch. Charlie Christian. pp.
Describes CCs early life, his meeting with John Hammond, the
audition for Benny Goodman, and his performances at Mintons, finally his illness and
hospitalisation. His recording sessions and influence on other guitarists are also
[Reprinted in: James Sallis (ed.) (1996). The
Guitar in Jazz: An Anthology. Lincoln: University of Nebraska
Press. pp. 54-69.]
Sohmer, Jack. (1997). Liner notes to Jazz Band CD
Camel Caravan Shows: 4 November
1939 & 18 November 1939.
Interviewed by Sohmer, Jerry Jerome recalls the Goodman bands gig
at the Catalina Island Casino, and softball games at Wrigley ball field, in which CC
a great infielder took part.
Sudhalter, Richard M. (1999). Lost Chords:
White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz 1915-1945.
New York: Oxford University Press.
Reviews the influence of Western Swing guitarists, especially Eldon
Shamblin, on their jazz counterparts [draws upon Townsend, 1976]. Suggests that CC
was influenced in this way, hearing them on radio broadcasts. Les Paul (1992
interview with author) tells how he would go to Oklahoma City in the late 1930s to hear
Shamblin with the Texas Playboys. Once he saw someone in the audience ask if he
could try Shamblins instrument: It was Charlie Christian, of course, and
he was so good he surprised us all. [cf. Lester, 1994]
Time-Life. (1980). Giants of Jazz: The
Guitarists. Booklet and memo accompanying record set.
Memo reports research into the date and place of CCs birth (July
29, 1916; Bonham, Texas), his death, and his family. The booklet describes his early
life in Bonham and Oklahoma City, the bands he played with in the Southwest, and traces
his subsequent career up to his death.
Tolinski, Brad & Alan Di Perna (2016). Play It Loud:
History of the Style, Sound, and Revolution of the Electric Guitar.
New York: Doubleday. Ch.
“The Christian Crusade.” pp. 31-48.
Presents a CC biography including influences between the guitarist and Gibson ES-150 guitar.
(——) (2016). “Charlie Christian: The First Electric Guitar
Guitar Aficionado Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 6, November/December. pp. 64-77.
An edited and condensed excerpt from book “Play It Loud” above.
Townsend, Charles R. (1976). San Antonio
Rose: The Life and Music of Bob Wills.
Urbana: University of Illinois. pp.
Argues that CC may have been influenced by the innovations of Leon
McAuliffe and Eldon Shamblin, featured solo guitarists with Bob Wills. Suggests
that, in Oklahoma City, CC could have heard prime-time broadcasts by Wills bands,
e.g. on radio station KVOO from 1934, may have seen them on tours, e.g. in Oklahoma City,
Spring 1934 [cf. Sudhalter, 1999], or heard their records.
Valdes, Leo. (2005-2009) Charlie Christian
Chronology. In: Solo Flight: The Charlie Christian Web Site.
Internet site: http://home.elp.rr.com/valdes/chonology.htm [supplanted – see next]
Comprehensive and detailed chronology of the life of Charlie Christian.
Includes a section on Awards and Posthumous Events.
(2016) Charlie Christian
Chronology. In: Solo Flight: The Charlie Christian Legacy.
Internet site: http://soloflight.cc/chonology.htm [on this site]
Reinstatement of the original website (above); posthumous events updated.
Waksman, Steve. (1999). Playing with Sound:
Charlie Christian, the Electric Guitar, and the Swing Era.
Ch. 1, pp. 14-35.
In: Waksman. Instruments of
Desire: The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience.
London: Harvard University Press.
Discusses how the musical genres of the Southwest may have influenced
CCs style. Argues that CC, like many black jazz artists of the Swing era,
sought to further their careers by playing with popular, predominantly white bands.
Describes technical developments in the design of electric guitars, and asserts CC had
crucial role in establishing this instrument in American popular music.
Watts, Jerry Gafio. (1994). Heroism and the Black
Ralph Ellison, Politics, and Afro-American
Chapel Hill: The University of North
Carolina. pp. 105-107.
Discusses Ellisons account of CCs achievements and his
interpretation of these in relation to Afro-American culture and politics.
Welding, Pete. (1981). Charlie Christian:
The Mellow Monster. Guitar World, II, No. 4, July. pp. 81-82.
Relates how CC played guitar on the streets with his two brothers and
father in his early years, then played clubs with his brother Edwards band, and bass
with Al Trent, forming band of his own in Oklahoma City in 1937. Records that he
rejoined Trent in 1938 for a tour of the Plains states.
Wheelwright, Lynn. (2003). I Found Charlies
Vintage Guitar Magazine, Vol. 17, No. 04,
March. pp. 84-86.
Relates the circumstances of the purchase in 2002 of a Gibson electric
guitar believed to have belonged to CC. The author discusses research into the
manufacturers records and serial numbers, and comparison with photographs of CC that
show guitars he played.
Williams, Mary Lou. (1997). In: Robert Gottlieb
(ed.) Reading Jazz. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 108-109.
[reprint of autobiography originally published
in Melody Maker 1954]
Records that Norma Teagarden was believed to have taught CC music and
reported he could play everything from jazz to the classics. His
favorites were In a Mist and Rhapsody in Blue. Relates how,
when with Andy Kirk band, Mary Lou heard CC in Oklahoma City cause band guitarist Floyd
Smith to leave the stage during a cutting session.
[the text of all except the final installment of these eleven autobiographical interviews
are reproduced online at
In Her Own Words
Mary Lou Williams Interview. Melody Maker, April-June,
[accessed August 30, 2001]
Williams, Martin. (1970). Jazz Masters in
Transition, 1957-69. New York: Macmillan.
Ch. Guitar by Charlie
Christian. pp. 285-287.
[reprinted from Saturday Review, May 17,
Assesses CCs importance compared to other guitarists, and his
influences, which he argues were mainly saxophonists. Reviews records, especially
the Edmond Hall Blue Note sessions of 1941.
Wilmer, Val. (1977). Eddie Durham.
Coda, no. 158. pp. 6-7.
Reports similar details as in Siegel & Obrechts 1979 article,
i.e., that Durham met CC in Oklahoma City and jammed together in an
after-hours joint (with CC on piano). Relates that CC told Durham he
wanted to play guitar, and asked him how he produced his particular sound.
Woodard, Josef. (2003). Charlie
Christian. GuitarOne, November. pp. 100-112.
Biography of CC prompted by release of Columbia/Legacy 4-CD
box set, with comments from Jim Hall, John Scofield, and others.
Yanow, Scott. (1978). Charlie Christian: In
Retrospect. Record Review, II, No. 4, October. pp. 50-52.
Critical review of key LP albums featuring CC, and brief
biography based on standard sources (e.g., Feather, 1961; Hammond, 1981).
Zemb, Patrick. [unpublished work] Lorient, France.
Transcriptions of interviews with musicians, contemporaries, and their
relatives, including Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, B.B. King, Georgie Auld, Nick Fatool,
Jerry Jerome, Mary Osborne, Ellen Sheffield-Charles, and Ula Sheffield. Discusses
CCs music, career, and influence.