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Charlie Christian

By | November 2012
Page 1 of 5
Everyone grows up making goals and trying to achieve them to the best of their abilities. Whether they want to be an astronaut, an actor, musician, athlete, they will work towards being the best. Charlie Christian was just like every other child growing up, and his passion was baseball, but with a turn of events his life was transformed into. Charlie because a jazz icon to many in his very short life span and was the inspiration for advancing the role of electric guitar in music in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.

Charlie Christian was born on July 29th, 1916 in Bonham Texas where his mother Willie Mae, father Clarence James, and two brothers Edward and Clarence Jr., resided, but shortly after Christian was moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as a young child (Wishart 2004). It was in Oklahoma City where Charlie started to feel his love for music. Here he was exposed to many jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and many, many more jazz legends (Mueller n.d.). His father was one of the reasons that Charlie became interested in music as a child. For the family to earn some extra money Christian performed as a “street busker” also known as “Busks” with his father and brothers, starting in the year 1921 (Wiki n.d.). They performed in rural areas and in the city’s white middle class neighborhoods, where they danced and played everything from the popular music of that era to theme shows intended to earn extra cash or food (Mueller n.d.). Charlie never played an instrument during the first 2 years of performing with his family as they danced and played on the streets, he was just a dance (Wiki n.d.)r. But in 1923, things changed and he asked his father to teach him how to play guitar, and it was that event that changed Charlie’s life forever. Charlie learned the basics of playing guitar from his father, before his father’s death when Charlie was only 12. He was then performing around Oklahoma City in the late 1920’s...
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