Charlie Christian

Jazz Immortal

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AllMusic Review by

The recording quality is streaky on this budget release and the personnel listing and recording date are omitted but the music (which has been reissued several times) is quite historic. Cut live at Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's Uptown House, these jam sessions feature the great pioneering electric guitarist Charlie Christian on the longest solos of his that still exist, really stretching out during the Eddie Durham composition "Swing to Bop" (really it's "Topsy"), "Up on Teddy's Hill" and "Stompin' at the Savoy"; his improvisation on the latter was one of the finest of his short life. The trumpeter on those selections is the erratic Joe Guy but Thelonious Monk can be heard taking some swing-oriented solos, his earliest appearance on records. Some of the other jams (two versions of "Stardust" and "Kerouac") feature Dizzy Gillespie, who at age 24 was still searching for his style. This is very significant music from sessions that led to the birth of bebop.