Keith Christie's musical idols were American musicians, not only trombonists such as Jack Teagarden but the bandleaders they grooved with, not only swing or New Orleans jazz messiahs but Charlie Parker, master of the bebop saxophone. It was largely the British jazz audience that got to hear Christie's ruminations on these influences, although in the late '50s he was on tour in both the United States and Canada as part of bandleader Ted Heath's outfit. Heath is on the short list of acclaimed leaders who came out of the British jazz scene, and this trombonist worked with just about all of them, beginning with Humphrey Lyttelton at the tail end of the '40s.
Born Ronald Christie, this artist seemed to prefer using his middle name of Keith. Like his alphabetically close fellow trombonist George Chisholm, Christie adored the gentle banter of Louis Armstrong and his foil Teagarden, preferring classic jazz to newer forms of the genre that traded in experimentation or aggression. In the early '50s he collaborated with the Christie Brothers Stompers with his brother, clarinetist Ian Christie. From 1953 through 1955 he was employed by Johnny Dankworth, following which he freelanced in several different ensembles before steadying the course with Heath. There are many recording credits for this trombonist in the '70s that are well out of the jazz scenario, including the original Jesus Christ Superstar.