Artist Biography Available in: Charles Henry "Charlie" Christian (July 29, 1916 – March 2, 1942) was an American swing and jazz guitarist.
Christian was an important early performer on the electric guitar, and a key figure in the development of bebop and cool jazz. He gained national exposure as a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet and Orchestra from August 1939 to June 1941. His single-string technique, combined with amplification, helped bring the guitar out of the rhythm section and into the forefront as a solo instrument. He is considered to be one of the best improvisational talents of the swing era and a seminal influence on the bebop style.
Christian's influence reached beyond jazz and swing. In 1990, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame under the early influence category. Christian was raised in Oklahoma City and was one of many musicians who jammed along the city's "Deep Deuce" section on N.E. Second Street. In 2006 Oklahoma City renamed a street in its Bricktown entertainment district Charlie Christian Avenue.