Charlie Christian

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RayIan
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Charlie Christian

Post by RayIan »

I'm just wondering if anyone has tried mixing Charlie Christian style soloing into gypsy jazz and what kind of results you might have had. I think he was an arpeggio style player so it might be a good fit. Actually, it sounds like Christian must have listened to a fair bit of Django.
Gadjo
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Post by Gadjo »

As for mixing the styles you can listen to any jazz guitarists from the '40s onwards for the answer to that. Barney Kessel, George Barnes et.al. I guess Les Paul even fits this bill.
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Cuimean
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Post by Cuimean »

Stephane Wrembel, Matt Munisteri, and one or two other NYC-based guitarists have put on shows based on imaginary meetings between old guitarists. Munisteri and Wrembel did a "What If Eddie Lang Met Django?" show, and Wrembel and another guitarist whose name now escapes me did a Django/Charlie Christian show. I wasn't there, so I don't know how well it worked.
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lukejazz
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Re: Charlie Christian

Post by lukejazz »

RayIan wrote:Actually, it sounds like Christian must have listened to a fair bit of Django.
Don't let anyone in the Yahoo Charlie Christian Discussion Group hear you using that kind of language.
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/CharlieChristian/
They'll have you strung up by your thumbs! :o
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Teddy Dupont
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Re: Charlie Christian

Post by Teddy Dupont »

lukejazz wrote:
RayIan wrote:Actually, it sounds like Christian must have listened to a fair bit of Django.
Don't let anyone in the Yahoo Charlie Christian Discussion Group hear you using that kind of language.
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/CharlieChristian/
They'll have you strung up by your thumbs! :o
But it is almost certainly true. There is a story that when Christian was in Benny Goodman's small groups, Teddy Wilson once told him (Christian) that although he was pretty good, Django was the real business. So Christian proceeded to play him a Reinhardt solo note-for-note just to show he could do it too.
RayIan
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Post by RayIan »

I read today that Christian could play Django's version of St.Louis blues note for note, also, in the same book B.B. King was quoted as saying that Christian played 95% downstrokes. Was he a gypsy in disguise?
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Post by stublag »

It would be interesting to imagine how the history of Jazz guitar would have been altered if Charlie Christian had never been born
Much as i appreciate Charlie can't help thinking that his supposed followers missed the point--Christian was never bland --always made a strong and 'physical' sound
I for one hate about 90% of Jazz guitarists (or at least the SOUND they like)
Jim Hall and Tal Farlow;Johnny Smith and Herb Ellis (but not the great George Barnes!) ..... through to Metheny
How did that dreadful 'mellow' and 'bland' sound most people know as "Just Jazz guitar"(sic) come to be?..i always want them all to turn up the brightness control :-)

Can't help feeling that it was the nature of amplification that led to this 'under the blankets' sound most Jazz fans know as 'Jazz guitar'.....
Imagine how, if Django had been the dominant influence on the guitar in Jazz(in terms of sound and attack) the instrument would have held its own with the strong and potent force of the Sax and Trumpet in the hands of Coltrane,Dexter Gordon,Lee Morgan etc
Instead the listener always senses that huge 'falling away' in dynamics when a 'bebop' guitar solo follows a Sax or Trumpet(you know what i mean surely....?)
Bebop had the same 'levelling' out effect on the piano;you always sense that lack of dynamics with almost all Bebop based pianists who put an emphasis on the harmonic/melodic content of the solo rather than the(massive) sonic possibilities of the instrument(Thank God for Keith Jarrett).

As you know there are too many already who accuse us of playing 'old fashioned music'................this 'Django' stuff.....!

Of course nothing could be further from the truth!

We band of brothers are hipper than hip!

We stand at the vanguard of a NEW movement--the world is SO tired of the John Scofields' of the world with their 'Berklee chorus' and their 'faulty amp' stagnant sound...yawnnnnn!
Thats why Scofield et al aren't selling CD's like they used to--in case you hadn't noticed.....
Let's show the Jazz world how the guitar should sound.

Just food for thought; isn't it time we restored the balance?
Stu
Last edited by stublag on Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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nwilkins
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Post by nwilkins »

Although Tal Farlow later fell into the "bland tone" camp, I think his tone on his 1950s stuff was really great - very poppy with lots of character, and his playing did have dynamics (and his tone allowed them to come through). My favourite electric sound though is with lots of reverb a la Maurice Ferre.
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Post by Leonard »

I agree with Stu about this. There are only a few jazz-guitarists who can play together with the best reed/piano/trumpet players and make the guitar sound just as interesting. One of them is absolutely George Benson, his timing is incredible. When most guitarist play just a lot of long eight or sixteen note phrases, Benson rhytmic ideas are in a league of thier own.
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nwilkins
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Post by nwilkins »

Well, Stu was talking about tone, not ideas or phrasing or timing. But for the record I agree that a lot of jazz guitar is pretty bland in terms of phrasing, as well as tone.
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Cuimean
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Post by Cuimean »

nwilkins wrote:Although Tal Farlow later fell into the "bland tone" camp, I think his tone on his 1950s stuff was really
I love Farlow's work with Red Norvo and Charles Mingus. Their version of "Time and Tide" is great; Farlow basically plays percussion on his muted strings for part of the song, sounding like a conga player and adding some great rhythmic counterpoint to the tune.

I've harped on his stuff before, but folks with a distaste for woofy jazz guitar tone might want to check out Roy Lanham's work. His '40's stuff (played on an amplified Epiphone) is reminiscent of George Barnes. In the '60's, he began using a Fender Jazzmaster, and was able to get a great tone...full, with a snappy, bright attack.

I'm starting to really like a lightly amplified acoustic sound, as used by people like Daweli Reinhardt and Matt Munisteri. It gooses the bass of the acoustic guitar a bit without adding too much sustain and without overwhelming the high end sound coming out of the instrument.
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Post by Del Boy »

I think Stu is so right about the bland, soggy sound that has come to represent jazz guitar for most people. Why did so many players put up with that for so long? They just don't seem to have been that interested in the sound they were making. I remember many years ago seeing Joe Pass play at Ronnie Scott's. His playing was wonderful but he was going through a particularly nasty transistor amp and every time he hit the sixth string a horrible rasping fart came out. He didn't seem that bothered.

I'm not sure that it's down to "the nature of amplification", though. There always seemed to be plenty of people outside of mainstream jazz who were looking to find something more from an electric guitar. Les Paul, Merle Travis, Chet Atkins. Duane Eddy, Hank Marvin ... and then there was Hendrix and the world would never be the same again. Now jazz players are left with a feeble echo of the rock guitar sounds of the past 30 years. Yes, Scofield's a good example. A touch of amp distortion, a bucketful of modulation effect, and that's jazz. No thanks.
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Post by roineking »

When it comes to blues and rock, guitar has always been THE instrument. When distortion is added to the guitar sound (like Hendrix or Jimmy Page) it is much easier to get the same possibilities of expression and dynamics as a reed or a horn player+ the notes RING much longer. With clean sound, this is much much harder to achieve..
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Post by FSUGypsyJazz »

I can see what stu means. I love hearing guys like Tal Farlow, Kenny Burrell (who is tops for me as far as American Bop guitarists go) and Wes Montgomery. What I really dislike is the Rock/ Jazz tone that a lot of cats like Scofield use. Way to many effects pedals. As much as I kind of dislike the blanket over the amp sound I really hate the fuzzy half distorted sound I guess I have become accustomed to hearing the soft thick sound. To be honnest the electric tone like Tchan-Tchou's or Bousquet's is awesome. that really more of the tone I have been trying to get.
Keep Swingin!
Caleb
RayIan
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Post by RayIan »

As far as electric jazz goes, Django's 1953 recordings have, for me, the perfect tone. This is the best electric jazz ever recorded. Simple, clean, bright sound. What was Django playing on these recordings? Was it a Gibson?
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