Charlie Christian: Up On Teddy's Hill
Up On Teddy's Hill
Charlie Christian (electric guitar)
After Hours (Fantasy OJCCD-1932-2)
Joe Guy (trumpet), Nick Fenton (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums).
Composed by Charlie Christian.
Recorded: live at Minton's Playhouse, New York, May 1941
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Eddie Durham, inventor of the electric guitar, taught Charlie Christian to play it in 1937. Two years later, Christian was hired by Benny Goodman and quickly became the most influential guitarist in jazz – a preeminence that, despite Charlie's untimely death in 1942 at age 25, he would retain for the next two decades. On this track we hear him in 1941, live at Minton's – that after-hours laboratory for the soon-to-emerge style called bebop – and already it's clear that Charlie was leading the experiment. "Up on Teddy's Hill" shows how he'd transformed his early influences (the guitarists of Texas blues and Western Swing bands, Django Reinhardt and Lester Young) into long single-note lines and harmonic progressions that were way ahead of their time. First Byas, then Guy gamely try to hold their own, but Christian's innovative multi-chorus solo is the centerpiece.
Reviewer: Scott Albin