Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Benny Carter & Charlie Christian

The history of jazz is a history of the emergence of new forms out of old ones.  The great thing about this is that the garden just keeps getting bigger.  The new may overshadow the old, but the old does not die.  

Proof of that is Benny Carter's great album Further Definitions.  It is recorded in 1965, after hardbop and avant garde have had their full expression and fusion is on the horizon.  Carter plays his horn with a full orchestra behind him, and the lush sound could cushion a World War Two romance.  

Here is a sample:
Benny Carter/Doozy/Further Definitions
I have been listening to Benny Carter this week, but also to Charlie Christian.  Christian is one of the elder gods of jazz guitar.  Most of his work that I know of was recorded with big bands, and he shares a lot of time with Benny Goodman's horn.  But there is plenty of his licks on The Genius of the Electric Guitar.   Christian more or less invented amplified jazz guitar.  This 4 CD box warms the heart.  Here is a sample.
Charlie Christian/Seven Come Eleven/The Genius of the Electric Guitar
Okay, all of this makes me feel like I am a ghost in a Stephen King movie. But if the soundtrack is this good...

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