Ian Christie

Biography by

This artist is one half of a pair of brothers who came out of Blackpool swinging. Ian Christie and Keith Christie were both British jazz musicians, not boxers: the former continued to play the clarinet…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

This artist is one half of a pair of brothers who came out of Blackpool swinging. Ian Christie and Keith Christie were both British jazz musicians, not boxers: the former continued to play the clarinet in the new millennium while the latter trombonist died in 1980. The brothers were often together on-stage, at least in the early days, coming up in the trad jazz outfit of Humphrey Lyttelton in the early '50s and also co-leading a combo called the Christie Brothers Stompers. Ian Christie discovered swinging music on his radio as a child and began visiting local clubs to hear it done live, sometimes in the company of his father, a piano tuner and banjoist whose evenings often included strum sessions amidst the Blackpool Banjo Band.

At one Palace Ballroom dance, Christie was particularly taken by a red-jacketed fellow tootling on the clarinet. Bandleader Charlie Farrell gave him lessons, yet Christie meanwhile looked into other vocations, including the Air Force and photography. Brother Keith Christie had already gotten into music for a career, gigging in London with Lyttelton. That connection was a sure enticement for the clarinetist, who at first ditched his photography studies to join up with his brother in the Lyttelton group. Lyttelton himself rose above the average bandleader in terms of class by sponsoring the completion of his new clarinetist's photography studies. Inevitably, Christie would mix and match music, journalism and photography as careers, scribbling as a film critic for The Daily Express for more than 25 years. He toured with Mick Mulligan's band and George Melly in the '50s and '60s and worked regularly on recording sessions and radio. Some four decades later he was still going strong, gigging with trad jazz groups such as the Wyre Levee Stompers, the Merseysippi & Parade Jazz Band, and (in his hometown) the Tony Davis Band.