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04 July 2023

(Until 04 July)

Charlie Christian Electric Guitar Pioneer

Greg Poppleton's Phantom Dancer swing jazz radio show

Charlie Christian is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist. He was an American swing and jazz guitarist and a key figure in the development of bebop and cool jazz. He gained national exposure as a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet and Orchestra from August 1939 to June 1941. His single-string technique, combined with amplification, helped bring the guitar out of the rhythm section and into the forefront as a solo instrument.

The Phantom Dancer is your weekly non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week.

LISTEN to this week’s Phantom Dancer mix (online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 4 July) and weeks of Phantom Dancer mixes online at, at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

SWING

In 1939, Christian auditioned for John Hammond, who recommended him to bandleader Benny Goodman.

Goodman invited him to a show that evening at the Victor Hugo restaurant in Los Angeles. The bandleader called “Rose Room”, a tune he assumed Christian did not know. However, Christian knew the tune and took an unprecedented twenty choruses of improvisation; Goodman hired him as a member of the band as a result. In the course of a few days, Christian went from making $2.50 a night (he’d been playing electric guitar in mid-West bands since 1936) to $150 a week.

Christian joined the newly formed Goodman Sextet in September 1939, which included Lionel Hampton, Fletcher Henderson, Artie Bernstein and Nick Fatool and which you’ll hear in live broadcasts on this week’s Phantom Dancer.

By February 1940 Christian dominated the jazz and swing guitar polls and was elected to the Metronome All Stars. In the spring of 1940, Goodman laid off most of his band, but he kept Christian.

COOL

His work on the Goodman sextet sides “Soft Winds”, “Till Tom Special”, and “A Smo-o-o-oth One” show his use of few well-placed melodic notes. His work on the Sextet’s recordings of the ballads “Stardust”, “Memories of You”, “Poor Butterfly”, “I Surrender Dear” and “On the Alamo” and his work on “Profoundly Blue” with the Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet (1941) show hints of what was later called cool jazz. Although credited for very few, Christian composed many of the original tunes recorded by the Benny Goodman Sextet.

BOP

Christian was an important contributor to the music that became known as bop, or bebop. Some of the participants in early after-hours affairs at Minton’s Playhouse, an after-hours club located in the Hotel Cecil at 210 West 118th Street in Harlem where bebop was born, credit Christian with the name bebop, citing his humming of phrases as the onomatopoetic origin of the term.

Kenny Clarke claimed that “Epistrophy” and “Rhythm-a-Ning” were compositions by Christian, which Christian played with Clarke and Thelonious Monk at Minton’s jam sessions. The “Rhythm-a-Ning” line is heard on “Down on Teddy’s Hill” and behind the introduction on “Guy’s Got to Go” from the Newman recordings. It is also a line from Mary Lou Williams’s “Walkin’ and Swingin'”.Clarke further commented that Christian first showed him the chords to “Epistrophy” on a ukulele.

In the late 1930s Christian contracted tuberculosis which killed him in February 1942 .

STYLE

The Gibson ES-150, the guitar model most associated with Christian Christian’s solos are frequently described as “horn-like”, and in that sense he was more influenced by horn players such as Lester Young and Herschel Evans than by early arch-top guitarists like Eddie Lang.

In the brief period Christian played with Goodman he influenced not only guitarists but other musicians as well. The influence he had on “Dizzy” Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Don Byas can be heard on their early bop recordings “Blue ‘n’ Boogie” and “Salt Peanuts”. Other musicians, such as the trumpeter Miles Davis, cited Christian as an early influence.

4 July PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney
LISTEN ONLINE Community Radio Network Show CRN #605

107.3 2SER Tuesday 4 July 2023
12:04 – 2:00pm (+10 hours GMT)
National Program
5UV Adelaide Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4am
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4am
2BRW Braidwood Monday 3 – 4am
2YYY Young Monday 3 – 4am
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Monday 3am – 4 and 6 -7pm
2MCE Bathurst Wednesday 9 – 10am
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am
and Sunday 11pm
Reading Radio (QLD) Friday 1am – 2
2RRR Ryde Friday 11am – 12
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Saturday 4am – 5am
Denmark FM (West Australia) Saturday 10 – 11am
Repeat: Wednesdays 10 – 11pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm
2SEA Sapphire Coast Eden Sunday 9 – 10pm

Set 1
Randy Brooks
Open + Hallelujah!
Jerry Wald Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands’
AFRS Re-broadcast
20 Oct 1944
The Song is You
Jerry Wald Orchestra (voc) Mick Merrick
‘Spotlight Bands’
AFRS Re-broadcast
20 Oct 1944
Blues Concerto
Jerry Wald Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands’
AFRS Re-broadcast
20 Oct 1944
GI Jive + It Had To Be YouJerry Wald Orchestra (voc) Ginny Powell
‘Spotlight Bands’
AFRS Re-broadcast
20 Oct 1944
Set 2
Glenn Miller
Moonlight Serenade (theme) + Beer Barrel Polka
Glenn Miller Orchestra
Glen Island Casino
New Rochelle
WEAF NBC Red NYC
14 Jun 1939
The Lamp is Low
Glenn Miller Orchestra (voc) Ray Eberle
Glen Island Casino
New Rochelle
WEAF NBC Red NYC
14 Jun 1939
Jumping Jive
Glenn Miller Orchestra (voc) Marion Hutton + Band
Glen Island Casino
New Rochelle
WEAF NBC Red NYC
14 Jun 1939
Hold Tight + Moonlight Serenade (theme)
Glenn Miller Orchestra (voc) Marion Hutton
Glen Island Casino
New Rochelle
WEAF NBC Red NYC
14 Jun 1939
Set 3
Charlie Christian
Breakfast Feud
Benny Goodman Sextet
Comm Rec
NYC
13 Jul 1941
Seven Come Eleven
Benny Goodman Sextet
Peacock Court
Hotel Mark Hopkins
KFRC Mutual San Francisco
28 May 1940
Sheik of Araby
Benny Goodman SextetCocanut Grove
Ambassador Hotel
KHJ Mutual Los Angeles
12 Apr 1940
Six Appeal
Benny Goodman Sextet
Peacock Court
Hotel Mark Hopkins
KFRC Mutual San Francisco
4 Jun 1940
Set 4
Stan Kenton
Open + Trajectories
Stan Kenton Orchestra
‘Innovations in Modern Music for 1950’
Radio Transcription
Lonesome Road
Stan Kenton Orchestra (voc) June Christy
‘Innovations in Modern Music for 1950’
Radio Transcription
The Cuban Episode
Stan Kenton Orchestra
‘Innovations in Modern Music for 1950’
Radio Transcription
Set 5
Buzz Adlam
Anchors Aweigh (theme) + If I Were a Bell
Buzz Adlam Orchestra (voc) Tony Martin
‘Navy Star Time’
Radio Transcription
Los Angeles
1950
La Vie en Rose
Buzz Adlam Orchestra (voc) Tony Martin
‘Navy Star Time’
Radio Transcription
Los Angeles
1950
In a Little Spanish Town
Buzz Adlam Orchestra
‘Navy Star Time’
Radio Transcription
Los Angeles
1950
I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine + Close
Buzz Adlam Orchestra (voc) Tony Martin
‘Navy Star Time’
Radio Transcription
Los Angeles
1950
Set 6
Eddie Condon
Blues ‘Round My Head
Woody Herman (cl and voc)
‘Town Hall Jazz Concert’
WJZ Blue NYC
27 Jan 1945
Ensemble Blues
Eddie Condon
‘Town Hall Jazz Concert’
WJZ Blue NYC
21 Oct 1944
Indiana
Billy Butterfield
‘Town Hall Jazz Concert’
WJZ Blue NYC
27 Jan 1945
September in the Rain
Eddie Condon
‘Town Hall Jazz Concert’
WJZ Blue NYC
25 Nov 1944
Set 7
1940s Women Singers
Small Hotel
Ella Logan
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
Feb 1945
Come To Baby Do
Lena Horne‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
Oct 1945
Embraceable You
Effie Smith
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
Feb 1945
Haunted Town
Lena Horne
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
Oct 1945
Set 8
Miles Davis
Open + Walkin’
Miles Davis
‘Bandstand USA’
Birdland
WOR Mutual NYC
3 Jan 1959
All Gigs
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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