On The Bricks

August 22, 2022

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Christian was an American swing and jazz guitarist considered father of jazz guitar.

Christian was 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. He was called the best improvisational talent of the swing era.

In 2006 Oklahoma City renamed a street in its Bricktown entertainment district “Charlie Christian Avenue”. Born in Texas on July 29, 1916, Christian moved to Oklahoma City when he was a small child. His parents were musicians. Their father, Clarence Henry was struck blind by fever, and in order to support the family he and the boys worked as buskers. He would have them lead him into the better neighborhoods, where they would perform for cash or goods. When Charles was old enough to go along, he first entertained by dancing. Later he learned to play the guitar.

Charlie attended Douglass School in Oklahoma City, where he was further encouraged in music by an instructor, Zelia N. Breaux. Christian was one of many musicians who jammed along the city’s “Deep Deuce” section on NE Second Street.

After many years of touring with the world’s best musicians, Christian died on Mar. 2, 1942.

Music trivia: Most American car horns honk in the key of F.

More music trivia: The group Lynyrd Skynyrd is named after Leonard Skinner, an annoying gym coach some of the band members had in high school, who supposedly had them expelled for having long hair.

Continuing music trivia: The band Three Dog Night’s name is derived from an Australian Aboriginal custom of sleeping with a dog for warmth during cold nights. The colder the night, the more dogs.

Just interesting: “Auld Lang Syne” translates to “times gone by.”

Music humor: What do you call a musical insect? A humbug.

Why did the fish make such a good musician? He knew his scales.

What is the most musical part of your body? Your nose, you can blow it and pick it.

Profound: Sometimes music is the only medicine the heart and soul needs.

See you on the bricks!