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    1.   Biographical and Historical

    2.   Discographies and Solographies

    3.   Musical Analysis

    4.   Solo Flight:  The Charlie Christian Newsletter

    5.   Part Works and Special Supplements of Periodicals

    6.   Video and Film

    7.   CC Internet Sites

    8.   Multimedia

    9.   Bibliographic Sources

  10.   Oral History








Last Updated on  01/22/23

Copyright © Clive Downs 1997



I hope this bibliography will be useful for anyone researching Charles “Charlie” Christian as, to my knowledge, no comprehensive bibliography has ever been published.  My division into biographical, discographical and other categories is somewhat arbitrary, as many sources contain elements of each type of information.

Many of the items have been reprinted in various forms over the years, but rather than listing each version, I have given only an example for each.  The information provided should allow the researcher to locate either the version given, or a more accessible alternative.  Also I have indicated various items that are as yet unpublished, or whose existence could not be verified, if they seemed of interest.

I have carried out a computerized literature search at the British Library in London, have checked bibliographies, and searched the Internet in the attempt to locate information.  However, I am sure there will be omissions, particularly in the non-English speaking literature, and I hope it will be possible to update the bibliography in the future.

In the main, encyclopedias of jazz and blues, many of which have an entry on Christian, are excluded;  this is partly because these entries tend to recycle primary source material, and also because I do not think I can provide a comprehensive list of them all.  (This is not to say that some of them do not present some interesting opinions and assessments of Christian’s work).  An exception is where an encyclopedia provides information that is not available elsewhere.  Also excluded are most published notations of solos since these are listed in a separate bibliography (see below at “Bibliographic Resources”).  Record reviews, except some which are of special interest, again are too numerous to deal with comprehensively and so have been excluded.  Certain items (e.g., an oral history by Mary Lou Williams), although containing nothing on CC, have been covered because it may be useful to alert other researchers to the fact that they seem promising but in the event lack any information on CC.

No critical evaluation is offered of the sources, and each is given approximately the same length entry, except that I have tried to give a longer, six line description for those which appear to provide first hand accounts of key events and biographical episodes.



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 Goodman’s band from June 1939 to January 1941 (i.e., covering most of CC’s 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 CC’s only child) and Billie Johnson (CC’s 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 CC’s early band played) and the musical culture of Oklahoma City in that era.  Billie’s account mentions her collection of newspaper cuttings and chronology of CC’s engagements, and details are given of some of the locations where CC played throughout his career.


(——)  (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 Ellison (1953.).


(——)  (ed.)  (1995).  “Charlie Christian Photo Collection.”  Oklahoma City:  Black Liberated Arts Center.

Booklet with forty-seven photographs taken from the collection of  Leo Valdes.
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).  “Brad’s Page of Steel.”  Internet site:  http://www.well.com/.
        [site last updated 1998;  reviewed March 2001]

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 CC’s 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 CC’s childhood, and his early musical development, with excerpts from an interview with Ralph Ellison.  Recounts jam sessions at Hallie’s shoeshine parlor where CC and other local musicians jammed with players from Al Trent’s orchestra and other territory bands, and how in the mid-30’s CC joined Trent’s sextet on bass.  An account of his later career and recordings with Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, and at Minton’s 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 CC’s 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 Love’s 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 Minton’s) when with Goodman.


Boyd, Jean Ann.  (1998).  “The Jazz of the Southwest:  An Oral History of Western Swing.”
        Austin:  University of Texas.  pp. 101, 201-202.

Reviews CC’s 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 CC’s 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 CC’s early life and musical career, with information on the social and economic circumstances of the time.  It includes also an evaluation of CC’s 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 CC’s 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 (Charlie’s 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 CC’s time with the Goodman band and his reaction to fame.  He also discusses CC’s contribution to the development of bop, and accounts of CC in other musicians’ autobiographies.  Mention is made of CC’s baseball playing, and his stylish dress.


(——)  (2001).  “Revisiting Charlie Christian.”
        At Internet site:  “Charlie Christian:  Legend of the Jazz Guitar.”
  [reviewed March 2001]

Review of CC’s life and music that draws in part on interviews with Clarence Christian and Jerry Jerome conducted by the author.  Clarence refers to CC’s 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 CC’s 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 Trent’s 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 didn’t 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.  pp. 194-195.

Delilah Jackson (historian and confidante of Mary Lou) reports John Hammond’s comments on Goodman’s 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 Page’s 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.”
        Plainview, NY.

Gives details of CC’s 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 CC’s meeting with Lester Young in Oklahoma City;  also refers to several guitar players from whom CC learned, including “Jim Daddy” Walker (guitarist with Clarence Love’s 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, CC’s musical education, and the musicians in his family. Describes CC’s 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 family’s 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 at school.


(——)  (1995).  “Living with Music.”  Reprinted in:  O’Meally (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:  O’Meally (2001).  p. 266

Interviewed in 1976 by O’Meally, Ellison recalls playing gigs with CC’s brother Edward, and comments on the “heroic” stature of the two brothers.


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 “Ivie’s 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 Durham’s account of introducing CC in 1937 to the electric guitar, and tutoring him in solo playing.  Describes CC’s 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 CC’s early career, including playing with Al Trent’s band in Bismarck, N.D., as recounted by guitarist Mary Osborne.  His performances at Minton’s are described through accounts by Jerry Newman and Kenny Clarke.


(——)  (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 Reinhardt’s “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. 267-268, 296-297.

Jimmy Maxwell (1987 interview with author) recollects CC’s 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 hospitalization.


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 CC’s 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 Kessel’s 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 author’s 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. 176-179.

Reports meetings and interviews with CC’s 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 author’s planned books (with co-authors McKinney and Leo Valdes) on CC.  Reports on the passing of CC’s daughter.


Goins, Wayne E., & Craig R. McKinney.  (2005).  A  Biography of Charlie Christian, Jazz Guitars King of Swing.
Lewiston, New York:  The Edwin Mellen Press.

 Detailed 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 CC’s time with the Goodman bands, covering his role in bebop developments, his popularity, and influence on other guitarists.


Greenhough, Jane.  (1947).  “T-Bone Walker’s 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 CC’s playing in jam sessions at Minton’s, and relates his illness and death.  Implies that many of the Goodman tunes credited to the leader and Hampton were mainly CC’s 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. 69-70.

Describes CC’s audition with the Benny Goodman Sextet—the account is similar to Hammond’s (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 CC’s connection with the “Sweethearts.”


Hennessey, Mike.  (1990).  “Klook:  The Story of Kenny Clarke.”  New York:  Quartet Books.

Gives an account of CC’s 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 CC’s appreciation of the rhythm section at Minton’s.


Hoefer, George.  (2001).  In:  van der Bliek  (2001).  pp. 14-18.
        [reprint of “Hotbox:  Thelonious Monk in the ‘40’s.”  Down Beat, October 25, 1962.]

Describes Minton’s and the way music was presented there in the 1940’s;  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 Kessel’s 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 CC’s own lines up to then.  They never met again.


(——)  (1982).  “On Charlie Christian:  Barney Kessel.”  Guitar Player, March.

Interviewed by Jas Obrecht, Kessel discusses Christian’s 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.  p. 166.

Nothing about Tatum playing with CC [cf. Collette, 2000], but Les Paul, interviewed by the author, describes playing with CC at Minton’s:  “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 Leonard Ware…And they had [CC] who I knew from Oklahoma ’cause that’s where I met him, out in Oklahoma before he ever joined Benny, and […] the three of us, we’d go up there and we’d battle it out.”


Mongan, Norman.  (1983).  “The History of the Guitar in Jazz.”  Oak Publications.
        Ch. 6  “Charlie’s 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 CC’s career, and describes a phrase in Eddie Durham’s 1935 solo [sic] on Lunceford’s “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 CC’s 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 Minton’s to jam.


Murray, Charles Shaar.  (1981).  “Crosstown Traffic:  Jimi Hendrix and Post-war Pop.”
        London:  Faber & Faber.  pp. 120-128.
        Ch. 5  “Never to Grow Old:  Robert Johnson, Charlie Christian and the Meteorite Syndrome.”

Traces CC’s career and examines parallels between him and Hendrix.


Nicholson, Stuart.  (ca. 1989).  “Axe of the Apostles.”  The Wire.  pp. 36, 72.

Examines CC’s 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 CC’s friendship with steel guitarist Noel Boggs.


Obrecht, Jas.  (1982).  “Charlie Christian:  First Star of the Electric Guitar.”  Guitar Player, March.

Outlines CC’s career, describes his principal recording sessions, relates how Mary Osborne heard him for the first time, and considers Eddie Durham’s meeting with CC and account of tutoring him.


(——)  (2000).  “Saunders King.”  In:  Obrecht  “Rollin’ and Tumblin’:  The Postwar Blues Guitarists.”
        San Francisco:  Miller Freeman.  pp. 28-29.

        [interview with King originally published in edited form in Living Blues, March/April 1996]

King tells how CC visited Jack’s Tavern in San Francisco, when touring with Goodman and Hampton.  He was invited to play, and performed “Star Dust” solo on King’s 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 CC’s records, hearing and seeing him play live was a quite different experience.


Oliphant, Dave.  (1993).  “Eddie Durham and the Texas Contribution to Jazz History.” 
        Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. XCVI, April.  pp. 490-525.

Traces Durham’s career and role in the development of jazz.  Short section on Durham’s 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 CC’s 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 CC’s style (e.g. Schuller, 1989) and describes key events in his life.  Adds some additional comments about CC’s style, e.g. the use of quotations in his solos.


O’Meally, Robert G.  (ed.)  (2001).  “Living with Music:  Ralph Ellison’s Jazz Writings.”
        New York:  Modern Library.

[see  Ellison, Ralph]


O’Neal, 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.  CC’s brother Edward played piano.


Patoski, Joe Nick & Bill Crawford.  (1993).  “Caught in the Crossfire.”  Boston:  Little, Brown and Co.  pp. 17-18.

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, Monroe’s Uptown House, and the Emergence of Modern Jazz in Harlem.”
        Annual Review of Jazz Studies, 2.  pp. 150-179.

Interview with Tinney (a relatively unknown pianist who led the Monroe’s 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 Minton’s.  [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.  pp. 54-55.

[translated from Sales (1960)  “I Wanted to Make It Better:  Monk at the Black Hawk.”  Jazz:  A Quarterly of American Music]


Porter, Horace.  (1999).  “Jazz Beginnings:  Ralph Ellison and Charlie Christian in Oklahoma City.” 
        The Antioch Review, 57: (3), Summer.  pp. 277-295.

Discusses Ellison’s 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 CC’s development as a musician.


(——)  (2001).  “Jazz Country:  Ralph Ellison in America.”  Iowa City:  University of Iowa.

Ch. 1 is a revised version of Porter’s (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 Ellison’s writings, including his interpretation of CC’s life and career.


Porter, Lewis.  (1985).  “Lester Young.”  London:  Macmillan.  p. 9.

A short section recounts Young’s visit to Oklahoma City with The Thirteen Original Blue Devils (apparently in Spring 1932), at which time he jammed after hours at Slaughter’s Hall, and there met CC.


Proper Records.  (2002).  “T-Bone Walker:  The Original Source.”  CD Box Set.
        Proper Records, Properbox38  (Biographical Notes).

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 Minton’s, his influence on the development of bebop, and the guitar’s 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 CC’s 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 CC’s comments about Goodman.  Evidently, CC thought Goodman didn’t 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. “Charlie’s Guitar.”  pp. 97-120.

Comments on the scarcity of authenticated information about CC, and discusses the likely accuracy of some accounts (e.g., Eddie Durham’s).  Reviews CC’s career, identifying his brother’s 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 band’s breaks.


Santelli, Robert.  (1994).  “The Big Book of Blues:  A Biographical Encyclopedia.”  London:  Pavilion.  p. 424.

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 “Walker’s 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 legacy.


Scanlan, Tom.  (1996).  “The Joy of Jazz:  Swing Era, 1939-1947.”  Golden, Colorado:  Fulcrum.  p. 102.

Author reports hearing the Goodman Sextet live, when CC’s 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 CC’s 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.  CC’s first public performance is reported as 1930, when he sat in with Don Redmond’s 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 CC’s 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 Minton’s, exchanging solos  [cf. James, 1994].  “Charlie’s phrasing showed excellent taste.  He knew when to lay out and leave a hole.  He straightened my head out fast.”


Shaw, Arnold.  (1977).  “52nd St.:  The Street of Jazz.”   New York:  Da Capo.  p. 308.

Johnny Guarnieri tells how, when he first joined Benny Goodman’s 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).  “Joe’s 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.  pp. 201-216.

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. 87.

Gillespie (1976 interview with Charles Fox) discusses Minton’s 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 Minton’s 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 Productions.  pp.12-13.

A paragraph in the interview describes Ashby’s rooming with CC in Chicago (when CC was with Goodman), and their taking part in jam sessions with other members of the Goodman band, Hampton’s band (with whom Ashby was playing), and others.


Siegel, Joel A. & Jas Obrecht.  (1979).
        “Eddie Durham:  Charlie Christian’s 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 Durham’s 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. 316-331.

Describes CC’s early life, his meeting with John Hammond, the audition for Benny Goodman, and his performances at Minton’s, finally his illness and hospitalisation.  His recording sessions and influence on other guitarists are also discussed.
[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 EBCD 2139-2
        “Camel Caravan Shows:  4 November 1939 & 18 November 1939.”

Interviewed by Sohmer, Jerry Jerome recalls the Goodman band’s 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.  pp. 527-528.

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 Shamblin’s 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.
        Virginia:  Time-Life.

Memo reports research into the date and place of CC’s 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:
        An Epic 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 Hero.”
        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. 127-128.

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 CC’s 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 Intellectual:
        Ralph Ellison, Politics, and Afro-American Intellectual Life.”
        Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina.  pp. 105-107.

Discusses Ellison’s account of CC’s 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 Edward’s 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 Charlie’s ES-250!”
        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 manufacturer’s 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, 1954.”
URL:  http://www.ratical.org/MaryLouWilliams/MMiview1954.html]
[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, 1969]

Assesses CC’s 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 & Obrecht’s 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 CC’s music, career, and influence.



Bakker, Dick.  (1975).  “Charlie Christian with the Benny Goodman Sextet and Septet 1939/1941.”
        Micrography, Issue 35, March.

Selective listing in summary format with titles, dates, and key LP issues, focusing on the Goodman sextet, septet and some with full orchestra.  Includes analysis of spliced issues of “Breakfast Feud.”


Callis, John.  (1978).  “Charlie Christian 1939-1941:  A Discography.”  London:  Tony Middleton.

Short biography and comprehensive ‘name’ discography.  Extensive information on worldwide 78-rpm issues, also covers LP’s and EP’s.  Gives breakdown of spliced versions of “Breakfast Feud” and “Good Enough to Keep.”


CBS-Sony.  (1977).  “Charlie Christian Memorial Album.”
        Discography accompanying 3-LP box set 56AP 674~6.  Japan.
   [partly in Japanese]

Listing in tabulated form gives titles, arrangers, personnel, instrumentation and original US 78-rpm and LP issues (and some Japanese versions).


Connor, D. Russell & Warren Hicks.  (1969).  “B.G. — On the Record:  A Bio-discography of Benny Goodman.” 
        NY:  Arlington House.  pp. 259-303.

Second version of this work (revising Connor’s 1958 original work) which provides discographical data and chronology and itinerary of Goodman and his bands.  Includes photographs of CC with Goodman and details of locations, CC’s role in the Goodman band, and information which documents CC’s movements during his time with Goodman.


Connor, D. Russell.  (1988).  “Benny Goodman:   Listen to His Legacy.”  Metuchen, NJ:  Scarecrow.

“Bio-discography” of Benny Goodman covers all CC dates with the Goodman band (but also reports some other CC sessions); narrative chronology of band venues, locations and broadcasts.  Gives revised dates for 1940 studio sessions in Hollywood, and previously undocumented sessions with CC.


(——)  (1996).  “Wrappin’ It Up.”   Metuchen, NJ:  Scarecrow.

Gives new information revising Connor (1988).  Reports nine recordings of the Goodman Sextet with CC, which have not featured in any previous discographies, from recording engineer Bill Savory’s collection of acetates taken from broadcasts.  Also includes comments on new issues of CC material.


Evensmo, Jan.  (1976)  “The Guitars of Charlie Christian, Robert Normann, Oscar Aleman (in Europe).”
        Oslo:  Author.

Critical reviews of every solo, obbligato, and other audible passage by CC (solography), and also brief discographical data for each item, with representative 78-rpm and LP issues.  Unissued items are included, as is a listing by composition title for all concert and broadcast versions.


(——)  (2015)  “The Guitar of Charles Henry Christian ‘Charlie’.”
        Oslo:  Author.

Updated solography with new information which has surfaced in the last thirty-odd years.  Critical reviews of every solo, obbligato, and other audible passage by CC are still here either in original form or with new evaluations.  The brief discographical data for each item remain but the references to 78-rpm and LP issues have been dropped, replaced by a short list of major CDs.
        [online at URL:  http://www.jazzarcheology.com/category/guitar/]
        [accessed January 27, 2015]


Hoefer, George.  (1961).  “The Hot Box.”  Down Beat, November 9.  pp. 39-42.

Career summary covering early years, audition with Benny Goodman, and references to articles in Down Beat; selective discography listing locations, dates, personnel, instrumentation, titles and issues on 78-rpm and LP.  Summary of selected compositions by CC.


Rust, Brian.  (1982).  “Jazz Records 1897-1942.”  5th Revised Ed.  Vols. 1 & 2.
        Chigwell, England:  Storyville Publications.

Comprehensive discography, earlier editions of which were probably used by compilers of later CC discographies, particularly for 78-rpm issues.


Tercinet, Alain.  (1978).  “Chonk, Charlie, Chonk:   La (trop) courte histoire du premier guitariste moderne.” 
        Jazz Hot, November.  pp. 20-29.
  [in French]

Selective discography with leaders, personnel, instrumentation, locations, dates, titles, with 78-rpm and LP issues;  also provides biography with chronology, and review of key recordings.


Valdes, Leo.  (1998).  “Charlie Christian Discography.”
        In:  Solo Flight:  The Charlie Christian Web Site.
        Internet site:   http://soloflight.cc/discgrph.htm 
[on this site]

Comprehensive and detailed, particularly on recent American, European, and Japanese CD issues.  Details all issued and unissued material.  Includes indexes by catalogue number and by composition, and directory of albums.  Omits the non-USA 78-rpm issues.


Valdes, Leo.  (1998).  “Charlie Christian Solography.”
        In:  Solo Flight:  The Charlie Christian Legacy.
        Internet site:   http://soloflight.cc/sologrph.htm 
[on this site]

Comprehensive and detailed discography in conventional format (listing dates, locations, personnel, instrumentation, titles and issues on 78-rpm, EP, LP and CD) but with an essential ‘solography’ feature detailing CC’s participation on each title.



Aledort, Andy.  (2003).  “Charlie Christian: 
        A Step-by-Step Breakdown of the Style and Techniques of the Father of Modern Jazz Guitar.” 
        Milwaukee:  Hal Leonard.  Video DVD.

Instructional guitar DVD that analyses the heads and solos of eight CC solos, accompanied by backing tracks that simulate the original arrangements.  Gives a note-by-note demonstration of each solo, suggests fingerings, and comments on the rhythm and harmonic features of each phrase.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Antonich, Mark E.  (1982).  “The Jazz Style and Analysis of the Music of Charlie Christian.”
        Duquesne University (Pittsburgh):  Thesis.

Biography and analysis of rhythmic and harmonic characteristics of CC’s improvisation, with notations of many solos and rhythmic motifs.  Most of the material seems to have been taken from previously published sources.


Avakian, Al & Bob Prince.  (1960).  In:  Martin Williams (ed.) “The Art of Jazz.”
        London:  Cassell.  Ch. “Charlie Christian.”  pp. 181-186.
        [reprinted liner notes from Columbia LP CL 652 and other albums]

Describes CC’s career and also provide an analysis of certain rhythmic and harmonic features of his style and comments on his use of contour.  The solos on Air Mail Special and Breakfast Feud are discussed in some detail.


Ayeroff, S.  (2005).  “Swing to Bop:  The Music of Charlie Christian, Pioneer of the Electric Guitar.”
        Pacifico:  Mel Bay.

Collection of 39 solo transcriptions, also with measure by measure analysis of each solo, and detailed separate exposition of the melodic, harmonic, and other devices evident in the transcriptions.  Includes two demo CDs with fast and slow versions.


Ayoub, Marc  (2015).  “Charlie Christian, une voie de modernité.  Rhythme, chromaticisme, superstructure.”
        In Epistrophy – Jazz et Modernité . 01, 2015.  Internet site:  http://www.epistrophy.fr/charlie-christian-une-voie-de.html?lang=fr
Mise en ligne le 11 octobre 2015.

Analysis of metric displacement, chromaticism, and other aspects of CC’s style, and how the playing of later soloists such as Max Roach, Bill Evans, and Dexter Gordon reflected these innovations.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Baker, Richard F.  (1982).  “The Development and Roles of the Guitar in Jazz to 1950,
        with Particular Reference to the Electric Guitar.”
        The Open University (UK):  M.Phil. Thesis.  pp. 145-164.

Section 4.4  “The Special Influence of Charlie Christian – A Case Study” examines CC’s career and style, drawing upon several well-known sources.  The thesis includes photocopies of previously published solo transcriptions.


Berish, Andrew S.  (2012).  “Lonesome Roads and Streets of Dreams:
        Place, Mobility, and Race in Jazz of the 1930s and '40s.”  The University of Chicago Press.
        Ch. 4  “Travels with Charlie Christian:  Between Region and Nation.”  pp. 167-205.

Analysis of four CC solos (including comparative evaluation of three versions of Flying Home).  Examines articulation, note placement, timbre, phrase length, and other aspects of solos.  Discusses CC’s style in an interpretation of his music as reflecting social change and social mobility in 1930s / 1940s America.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Betts, James E.  (1996).  “Cleared for Takeoff:  A Reconstruction of the Christian-Goodman-Mundy ‘Solo Flight’.”
        Monmouth College (Illinois):  Jazz Research Papers 16.  pp. 1-6.

Describes endeavor to transcribe the full arrangement of  Solo Flight, the Goodman big band feature for CC.  Reports on various software packages used to help reconstruct the full score where sections were difficult to hear.  States that the complete arrangement was never published (though incomplete version survives in the Yale music library’s Goodman collection).  Gives history of the composition, and suggests that it was developed from a chord sequence CC devised at a jam session.


Birkett, James G.  (1994).  “Gaining Access to the Inner Mechanisms of Jazz Improvisation.”
        The Open University (UK):  Ph.D. Thesis.  pp. 268-275.

Includes an analysis of two CC solos.  Examines the choice of pitches against the underlying chords, the use of characteristic patterns, and examples of types of harmonic approaches to improvisation (e.g. tonic integration, semitone shifting), as defined by the author.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


ten Boske, Jim.  (1989).  Akkoord:  “Christian liet kicks steeds weer anders klinken.”
        JazzNu, February, 10/123.  pp. 176-177.
  [in Dutch]

Analysis of CC solos and compositions with notations.  [English translation not yet available]


Clark, Adrian.  (1998).  “Legends:  How to Play and Compose Like the World’s Greatest Guitarists.”
        London:  Sanctuary.  Ch. 5.  “Charlie Christian.”  pp. 38-45.

Includes three blues choruses in the style of CC, with an outline of the scale types and some arpeggios used in his solos.


Collier, James Lincoln.  (1981).  “The Making of Jazz.”
        London:  Macmillan.  pp. 342-36.

Discusses CC’s early career and influences (including Django Reinhardt), his work with Benny Goodman, and gives an analysis of harmonic aspects of his style.  Also examines rhythmic features, including contour, phrasing, and melodic line, with examples from the Seven Come Eleven solo.


(——)  (1989).  “Benny Goodman and the Swing Era.”
        London:  Oxford University.  Ch. 22  “The Sextet” and Ch. 20  “The Columbia Band.”
        pp. 288-294 and pp. 262-267.

Traces CC’s career with Goodman, and also analyses certain rhythmic features of his solos.  Discusses CC’s compositions and his arrangements for the sextet.


Colombo, Roberto.  (1994).  “Dentro le note:  Charlie Christian era squadrato?”
        Musica Jazz, Jan., 50/1.  pp. 52-54.
  [in Italian]

Analysis of CC solos with notations of sections of several solos.  [English translation not yet available]


(——)  (2009).  “Il Chitarrista di Jazz:  Charlie Christian e dintorni.”
        Genova:  Erga Edizioni.
  [367 pp.]  [in Italian]

Described as a ʻphilosophical’ history of the jazz guitar, with chapters on both major and less well-known guitarists, and around half the text devoted to CC, discussing influences, and with detailed analysis of his playing.  Includes 110 transcriptions of CC solos, and a CD (total time 3:11:42! in formato mp3) with 47 corresponding tracks by CC.  [English translation not yet available]
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Dennison, Christopher.  (2015).  “Primary Sources:  An Examination of Ira Gitler’s Swing to Bop
        and Oral History’s Role in the Story of Bebop.”  MA thesis, Rutgers University. 
        Ch. 3  “The Myths of Minton’s:  Selected Examples from Bop’s Harlem Origins.” 
        Part One:  “Charlie Christian.”  pp. 57-88.

Discusses CC solos, particularly on the middle sections of three compositions, with reference to Yoshizawa’s analysis of bop phrasing (which identifies ten rhythmic devices), and to the practice of ‘side-slipping’.  The analysis is prompted by oral history comments of other jazz musicians as reported by Gitler (which refer to the harmonic complexity of CC’s middle eight solos and his rhythmic innovation).
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Denny, Michael P.  (1995).  “The Influence of Charlie Christian on Four Modern Jazz Guitarists:
        A Comparison of Style through Their Solos on a Twelve-Bar Blues Progression.”
        University of Oregon (Eugene):  Master of Arts Thesis.
  [187 pp.]

Analysis of CC’s style and comparison with that of Tal Farlow, Jim Hall, Barney Kessel, and Wes Montgomery, based on examination of solos by each artist on a twelve-bar blues.  The comparison is based on thirteen features of CC’s style (e.g. triadic arpeggios, harmonic anticipation and delay).
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Dochtermann, Joe.  (2005).   The Charlie Christian Method for Jazz Guitar.
Hamburg:  author.

 Detailed analysis of each solo transcribed, with interpretation of rhythmic and harmonic features, and chord diagrams;  includes CD with re-creation of solos.


Downs, Clive.  (2002).  “Metric Displacement in the Improvisation of Charlie Christian.”
        Annual Review of Jazz Studies 11, 2000-2001.  pp. 39-68.

Analysis of metric displacement (the way in which the underlying meter of a composition can be creatively ‘disrupted’) in selected solos of CC.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Finkelman, Jonathan.  (1993).  “Charlie Christian, Bebop, and the Recordings at Minton’s.”
        Annual Review of Jazz Studies 6.   pp. 187-203.

Examines influences on CC (including Lester Young’s), and surveys main recordings, before discussing in detail selected extended solos from Minton’s;  analyzes “bop” aspects of his style, also harmonic features, the use of motifs, phrasing, and forward motion.


(——)  (1997).  “Charlie Christian and the Role of Formulas in Jazz Improvisation.”
        Jazzforschung/Jazz Research.  pp. 159-188.

Identifies four fingering positions probably used by CC, which may be associated with many of the formulas described by Spring that seem to underlie much of his improvisation.  Suggests that these positions form the basis for much of the non-formulaic passages in the solos.  Includes notation of solos to illustrate this analysis.


(——)  [unpublished work in progress]  “The Style of Charlie Christian in the Context of His Contemporaries.”
        Ph.D. Dissertation, City University of New York.


Fox, Darrin.  (2002).  “The Magic Christian.”
        Guitar Player, October.  pp. 74-83.

Reviews the 2002 Columbia/Legacy 4-CD box set and provides some phrases in the style of CC.


Hamburger, David.  (1997).  “How to Play Guitar, Vol. 3, No. 3.”
        Guitar Player, May/June.  pp. 15-20.

Analysis of the major chord guitar shapes, and added notes, upon which CC’s solos are based. Gives examples of CC solo figures derived from the shapes, with tablature, and notation of Flying Home chorus complete with simulated solo on CD.


Hansen, Garry.  (1998).  “Tutoriol, Solos, Licks.”
        In:  Charlie Christian:  Legend of the Jazz Guitar.”
        Internet site:  http://www3.nbnet.nb.ca/hansen/charlie/tutorial
  [last reviewed December 21, 2004]

Site includes a beginner’s tutorial on CC’s improvisational method, solo transcriptions, and examples of his ‘licks’ (with Real Audio files).


Henderson, Chip.  (2016).  “Charlie Christian:  Selected Solos from the Father of Modern Jazz Guitar.”
        Van Nuys:  Alfred Music.

Analysis focusing on ‘chord grips,’ the use of chord fingerings intended to aid specific improvisation patterns.  Considers use of blues and chromatic scales, arpeggios, and other devices.  Includes a biography and quotations about CC from other famous guitarists.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Johnzon, Hasse & Robert Oberg.  (1997).  “Hästjazz & Charlie Christian.”
        Fuzz.  June/July.  pp. 54-56.
  [in Swedish]

Phrases in the style of CC.  [English translation not yet available]


Kuboki, Yasushi.  (2016).  “The Legend of Charlie Christian.”
        Tokyo:  Rittor Music.
 [in Japanese ]

Japanese ‘mook’ (magazine/book) with transcriptions, biography, selective discography with color reproductions of covers, detailed analysis of CC style (picking, delayed passing notes, etc), solography, history of electric guitars and amplifiers, details of tribute albums and DVDs.  Includes CD with quartet playing CC-associated selections (tracks 1-7), and recorded versions of examples from musical analysis section (tracks 8-36).
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Lazzini, Cesare.  (2013).  “Charlie Christian:  Il Pragmatismo in Musica:
        Viaggio nella vita e nello stile di Charlie Christian.”
  [in Italian]
        Diploma:  Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali “Pietro Mascagni” – Livorno.

Analysis of solos, with particular reference to, and critique of, Colombo’s (2009) discussion of CC’s style.  Includes over 50 transcriptions, mainly short extracts.  Examines in detail the way CC deployed the ♭9, ♯5, and other tensions, as well as his melodic (scalar) approach.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Marshall, Wolf.  (2002a).  “The Best of Charlie Christian:
        A Step-by-step Breakdown of the Styles and Techniques of the Father of Modern Jazz Guitar.”
        Milwaukee:  Hal Leonard.

Primarily a collection of notated solos, this publication also includes detailed and thorough analysis of each solo.  The commentary deals with melodic formulas, arpeggios, quotes, harmonic aspects of the solos, and various rhythmic features of his style.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


(——)   (2002b).  “Charlie Christian Guitar Lesson.”
        Internet site:  https://www.riffinteractive.com/expguitar/CharlieChristian_Lesson.htm
        [reviewed August 17, 2002]

Discussion of CC’s style and use of patterns, with detailed analysis of Honeysuckle Rose and Benny’s Bugle, similar to Marshall (2002a).


(——)   (2012).  “Jazz Guitar Icons.”
        Milwaukee:  Hal Leonard.

This overview of 25 leading players includes three licks in the style of CC (’blowing phrase’, ‘blues lick’, ‘lick in the minor mode’) with brief analysis, and an outline of his influence, equipment, and style.


Okazaki, Miles & Ethan Iverson.  (2017).  “Stompin’ at Minton’s.”
        Guest Post in:  Ethan Iverson blog Do the M@th
        Internet site:  https://ethaniverson.com/guest-posts/stompin-at-mintons-by-miles-okazaki/
[reviewed October 27, 2017]

Career summary, comments on CC’s fingering technique in general, followed by notes on melodic and rhythmic features of the solo, and more detailed discussion of fingering in this performance (including annotations in the transcriptions)


Piras, Marcello.  (2015).  In:  “Dentro le note:  Il Jazz al microscopio.”
        Roma:  Arcana Jazz.
  [articles republished from Musica Jazz, 1983 to 1995, in the series Dentro le Note].
        Ch. “Charlie Christian:  Composizioni.”  pp. 205-209. 
[in Italian]

Considers the compositions of CC, their structure, chord sequences, and whether certain compositions attributed to Benny Goodman were in fact written by CC.


Salmon, Shawn.  (2011).  “Imitation, Assimilation, and Innovation:
        Charlie Christian’s Influence on Wes Montgomery’s Improvisational Style
        in His Early Recordings (1957-1960).”
        Ball State University (Indiana):  Dissertation. 
[210 pp.]

Discusses CC’s use of scales, arpeggios, and formulas over dominant 7 harmonies, and compares Wes Montgomery’s approach.  Numerous transcriptions of extracts from CC’s solos.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Schuller, Gunther.  (1989).  “The Swing Era:  The Development of Jazz, 1930-1945.”
        New York:  Oxford University Press.   pp. 562-578.

Discusses early Southwestern and multicultural influences on CC, traces major recording sessions, and gives a detailed analysis of CC’s style including a notation of five solos.  Examines his tone, and solo style including contour, use of motifs, phrasing, range, and harmonic aspects.


Schütze, Dennis.  (2003).  “Der Jazzgitarrist Charlie Christian:
        Studien zur musikalischen Gestaltung anhand von Transkriptionen
        der Columbia Studioaufnahmen von 1939 bis 1941.” 
[in German]
        Bayerischen Julius-Maximilian-Universität Würzburg:  Magister Artium (M.A.) Thesis.

Masters Thesis that examines the fingering patterns, and their classification according to chord type, believed to be used in the Columbia studio sessions.  Rose Room, Honeysuckle Rose, Memories of You, Grand Slam, and Breakfast Feud are analyzed in detail.  Fingering diagrams, also sections on biography, equipment, influences, and historical context, and full transcriptions of all solos, riffs, and heads from the master takes, and most alternates, from the Columbia studio recordings are included.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]

Schwab, Jürgen.  (1998).  “Die Gitarre im Jazz:  Zur stilistischen Entwicklung von den Anfaengen bis 1960.”
        Regensburg:  ConBrio.  Ch. 3   “Charlie Christian und der Wechsel zur E-Gitarre.”
        pp. 101-115, 120-127.
  [in German]

Transcriptions of several solos and detailed and wide-ranging analysis of CC’s style.  Discusses phrasing, note choice, passing tones, use of formulas, and compares solos on different versions of Flying Home.  Examines chord fingering positions and relation to use of formulas, and reviews Spring’s analysis.  Account of CC’s chordal style, also his application of sixteenth-notes and triplet figures, and assessment of the most innovative elements of his work.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Spring, Howard.  (1979).  “Charlie Christian:  His Vision of the Guitar Neck.”
        York University (Toronto):  unpublished paper.

[copy not available for review]


(——)  (1980).  “The Improvisational Style of Charlie Christian.”
        York University (Toronto):  Thesis.

Detailed analysis of solo style, with many notations.  Main focus is the repertoire of formulas CC used.  These are categorized into those (a) used over tonic chords, (b) used over non-tonic harmony; these are broken down to ascending and descending examples, with a ‘core’ and ‘prefix.’  Shorter discussion of rhythmic aspects, covering phrasing, and contour, and comparison with other guitarists.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


(——)  (1990).  “The Use of Formulas in the Improvisations of Charlie Christian.”
        Jazz Research/Jazzforschung, 22.   pp. 11-51.

Condensed version of Spring’s (1980) thesis.


Stewart, Jimmy.  (1976).  “A Tribute to Charlie Christian.”
        Guitar Player, Vol. 10, No. 4, April.  p. 73.

Brief biography of CC, and outline of his style, with a notated solo in his manner.


Valdes, Leo.  (2002).  “Charlie Christian Transcriptions.”
        In:  Solo Flight:  The Charlie Christian Legacy.
        Internet site:   http://soloflight.cc/xcrpt.htm 
[on this site]

Analyzes CC’s unique style and technique.  Comments on and analyses of many solos, with standard transcriptions, solo chord changes, guitar tablature and left-hand fingering denotation.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Vogel, Joachim.  (1993).  “Masters of Jazz Guitar.”
        Bruehl:  AMA Verlag.  pp. 19-24.

Brief analysis of CC’s soloing, with a series of licks in his style.


Weidlich, Joseph.  (2005).  “The Guitar Chord Shapes of Charlie Christian.”
        Anaheim Hills:  Centerstream.

An analysis of typical CC licks, figures, and tetrachord motifs, with suggested guitar chord shapes that can be moved around the fingerboard to fit different keys, and facilitate playing such figures.  Includes 93-track audio CD with examples from the text.


(——)  (2015).  “Trading Licks:  Charlie Christian & T-Bone Walker.”
        Anaheim Hills:  Centerstream.

Presents a comparison of the playing styles of CC and T-Bone Walker.  Argues that some of the techniques used by the latter were similar to those of CC, stating that T-Bone started playing and recording around the time of CC’s death.  Examines guitar technique (esp. as applied in blues and blues-type harmony.  Includes 83-track CD with guitar examples of related bends, blues licks, and pentatonic figures.  Includes transcriptions and analysis of CC solos.
[ see also other sources on the relationship between the two guitarists in section 1 above:  O'Neal (1972), Proper Records (2002) ]





Number 1  (Spring 1995).

Includes details of the Charlie Christian Jazz Festival, record reviews of Volumes 1 through 4 of the Masters of Jazz complete recordings on CD, a notation of an unrecorded and unpublished composition by CC, and a reproduction of his birth certificate.


Number 2  (Spring 1996).

Concludes the review of the Masters of Jazz series with Volumes 5 to 8, also has notations of “Tea for Two” and an unreleased version of “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” and concludes with a book review of the Annual Review of Jazz Studies 6 (1993).


Number 3  (Summer 1997).

Includes book reviews, details of newly discovered recordings (Savory), CD reviews, and a list of recordings omitted from the Masters of Jazz series.  Also contains two solo transcriptions, an update to Downs’ 1993 bibliography of published notations, and a detailed analysis of all spliced recordings (“Breakfast Feud,” “Good Enough to Keep” and others).


[Subsequent Newsletters are incorporated into Solo Flight: The Charlie Christian Legacy.]



I grandi del jazz.  “Gli Stilisti:  Charlie Christian.”  Arrigo Polillo.  (1979).  Milan:  Fabbri.  [in Italian]

Biography, with photographs, reproductions of LP covers, notation, and album [GdJ-48].  Text similar to Polillo (1988).


Jazz Greats.  (1997).  No. 27:  “Charlie Christian.”  London:  Marshall Cavendish Leisure.

Biography, photographs, and chronology.  Also discusses CC’s role in establishing the guitar in jazz, recommended recordings,
biographies of his peers, and “sleeve” notes for accompanying CD [MC 027] or cassette.


Musica Jazz.  (1988).  “Charlie Christian.”   Special supplement to Musica Jazz  Anno XLIV - N. 2 (468).
        Maurizio Franco.
  [in Italian]

Eleven-page supplement to LP album [2MJP 1058].  Includes a bibliography (covering several Italian and French sources),
selective discography, and photographs.


Polillo, Arrigo.  (1988).  “Jazz:  Gli Uomini, gli instrumenti, gli stili.”  No. 78:  “Charlie Christian.”
        Milan:  Fabbri.  pp 161-172.
  [in Italian]

[see  “I grandi del jazz” entry above;  also includes selective discography]



Hal Leonard.  (2003).  “Charlie Christian:
        A Step-by-Step Breakdown of the Style and Techniques of the Father of Modern Jazz Guitar.”
        Milwaukee:  Hal Leonard HL00320367.  Featuring Andy Aledort.  Video DVD.

Instructional guitar DVD that analyses the heads and solos of eight CC solos, accompanied by backing tracks that simulate the original arrangements.  Gives a note-by-note demonstration of each solo, suggests fingerings, and comments on the rhythm and harmonic features of each phrase.  Running time is 83 minutes.
[see also Notated Solos Bibliography]


Jacobs, Oren.  (1993).  “Benny Goodman:  Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing.”  Sony Video 49186.

Film said by Connor (1996) to have been broadcast on British TV’s “The South Bank Show.”  Excerpt from what is presumably Musso’s (1941) film of Goodman’s housewarming does not appear to include any shots of CC.  A still of CC captioned with his name is briefly shown, but he is not mentioned in the narration.  An extract from “Charlie’s Dream” (probably Oct. 28 1940 version) is heard on the soundtrack.


King, B.B.  with David Ritz.  (1997).  “Blues Around Me:  The Autobiography of B.B. King.”
        London:  Hodder & Stoughton.  pp. 66-67.

Describes the “ten-cent vendor” – a device that showed “soundies” (short films with sound) of popular bands of the time, and discusses one (or more?) featuring CC soloing with the Benny Goodman band.


Musso, Vido.  (1941).  [16-mm film not commercially available]

[copy not available for review]  Silent film lasting 9 mins 30 secs of Benny Goodman’s housewarming in September 1941, said to include footage of CC.  Details in Connor (1996), which also states that excerpts can be seen in Jacobs (1993).
[Charles was hospitalized at Sea View Hospital from 11 July 1941 until his passing on 2 March 1942 — LV]


Rhodes, Garydon.  (1996).  “Solo Flight:  The Genius of Charlie Christian.” 
        New York:  View Video 1353.  Video VHS.

Biographical video featuring interviews with many musicians and others who knew CC, including Lionel Hampton, Herb Ellis, Jay McShann, also friends and musicians from Oklahoma City and Bonham such as Vanoy Green, Hattie Nichols and Margretta Downey.  Narration and interviews relate CC’s early life and career, with stills of ephemera and photos, and soundtrack of CC’s records.  Includes many details of bands and venues in and around Oklahoma City.


(——)  (2005).  “Solo Flight:  The Genius of Charlie Christian.” 
        New York:  View Video 2353.  Video DVD.

DVD version of Rhodes’ (1996) VHS video, with some digital bonus features and a running time of 31 minutes.


Rhodes, Gary D.  (2006).  “Charlie Christian:  The Life and Music of the Legendary Jazz Guitarist.” 
        Cambridge, Mass:  Vestapol 13100.  Video DVD.

Updated DVD of Rhodes’ VHS/DVD videos “Solo Flight:  The Genius of Charlie Christian” with an extended running time of 95 minutes.


Sawyer, Charles.  (1981).  “B.B. King:  The Authorized Biography.” 
        Poole, England:  Blandford Press.  pp. 154-155.

Discusses CC’s influence upon King, and records that the blues player first heard CC on a “moviola” (a type of juke-box that played four or five minute movies of popular performers, sometimes referred to as “soundies”) with the Goodman band, featuring “Seven Come Eleven” and “Solo Flight.”


Terenzio, Maurice, Scott MacGillivray, Ted Okuda.  (1991).  “The Soundies Distributing Corporation of America.” 
        Jefferson, North Carolina:  McFarland & Company.

For those trying to trace the “soundies” with CC, referred to by B.B. King, this text lists the soundies produced by McFarland & Co. from 1940 to 1946, with credits of cast and musicians as available. It also details those similar products, “vis-o-graphs,” “featurettes,” and “telescriptions,” with (sometimes incomplete details of) titles and artists.  There is no reference to Charlie Christian.



Hansen, Garry.  Charlie Christian:  Legend of the Jazz Guitar.
  [last reviewed June 27, 2001]

Archived, inactive site with biography, selective discography, solo transcriptions (including MIDI files of the solos), list of CC ‘licks’ and a tutorial on his style, bibliography, links to other CC sites, legal information on the CC estate, photographs, and more.


Valdes, Leo.  Solo Flight:   The Charlie Christian Legacy.
   [this site]

Site with detailed solography, complete discography, photo gallery, solo & riff transcriptions (including tablature), comments & analyses of solos, bibliographies, CD reviews, book & video reviews, newsletters, links to other CC sites, and more.



Porter, Lewis & Michael Ullman.  (1993).  “Jazz:   A Multimedia History.”  CD-ROM:  Compton New Media.

[cited by Hansen on his CC Internet site but not available for review at present;  however, I understand it contains nothing additional to the original text].



Carner, Gary.  (1990).  “Jazz Performers:  An Annotated Bibliography of Biographical Materials.”  Greenwood.

Has an entry on CC including details of several part-works that are not covered in the present bibliography.


Downs, Clive.  (1986).  “Charlie Christian:  A Guide to Published Solo Transcriptions.”
        Names & Numbers, 3.  pp. 15-17.

Early listing of published solo transcriptions covering 42 notations and seven publications identifying multiple versions of same solo.  Short biography.


(——)  (1993).  “An Annotated Bibliography of Notated Charlie Christian Solos.”
        Annual Review of Jazz Studies 6.  pp. 153-186.

A more complete bibliography of solo notations giving details of 233 transcriptions and 49 publications listed by composition, date, and by source.  Gives details of representative issue (on CD where possible) for each performance.
[Updated and published in  Solo Flight:  The Charlie Christian Legacyhttp://soloflight.cc/downs_1.htm]    [this site]


(——)  (1998/2016).  “A Charlie Christian Bibliography.”  In Solo Flight:  The Charlie Christian Legacy.
        Internet site:  http://soloflight.cc/downs_2.htm
  [this page]

The most comprehensive Charlie Christian bibliography.  Excludes the transcription publications detailed in the “An Annotated Bibliography of Notated Charlie Christian Solos” listed above.


Jazz-Institut Darmstadt.  Darmstadt, Germany.
        Internet site:  http://www.darmstadt.de/kultur/musik/jazz/index-us.htm

Provides a web-based jazz bibliographic service, and will produce, on request, a list of journal articles and books on named artists drawn from its archive of over 700 periodical titles and 40,000 issues (40-50% of which are catalogued).  Each reference is categorized (e.g., record review, discography) and gives author name, article title, and issue.  A bibliography for CC produced in December 1999 gave 69 items, dating from 1939 to the present, many not in the current bibliography.  Includes many European (non-English language) periodicals.


RoJaRo-Index.  Oslo, Norway.
        Internet site:  http://www.rojaro.com/

A web-based music bibliographic service covering periodicals from 1992 onwards.  Can be searched, e.g., on artist name to produce a list of articles listed by various categories (e.g., record reviews, feature articles).  Gives periodical title, year, volume or month, page numbers, but not author or title.  Provides brief description of periodical.  Covers many non-English language European sources, and includes some CC items not indexed by Darmstadt and omitted from the present bibliography.


Voigt, Jon.  (1978).  “Jazz Music in Print” (2nd ed.)  Boston:  Hornpipe Music.

A listing of some six items which are also accounted for in Downs (1993).



Obrecht, Jas.  (2022).  “Barney Kessel:  The Complete 1981 Charlie Christian Interview.”
        In:  Talking Guitar:  Jas Obrecht’s Music Magazine.  [accessed January 18, 2023].
        Internet site:   http://youtu.be/JZl81y7f7qc

The original audio recording [duration 44:41] of Obrecht’s 1981 interview with Barney Kessel about CC, the source of his Guitar Player 1982 interview [cf. Kessel, 1982].  Includes an introduction by Obrecht in which he explains how Kessel met CC, and jammed with him, in Oklahoma City.


Williams, Mary Lou.  (1978).  Interview conducted by Stan Britt in London.
        London:  National Sound Archive.  Tape Reference:  C2574.

Wide ranging interview that although discussing Minton’s, Monroe’s and early years of Mary Lou, has no mention of CC.




I am most grateful to those who helped with access to certain items, and for permission to cite unpublished material.  My thanks are due to Paul Wilson and Chris Clark at the British Library in London, the patient staff of Reading Public Libraries, to  Leo Valdes  for helping with many items, and his comments on drafts, also to Peter Broadbent again for comments, kind help with many articles, and for many interesting discussions about CC, and to Brad Bechtel, Richard Lieberson, Jas Obrecht, Jim O’Neal, Lewis Porter, Fer Urbina, and Andrew Waugh.

I should be very grateful to receive details of any material that I have omitted, or any comments.  Please contact me by e-mail:

Clive Downs



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