365 Days of Album Recommendations – March 21

Charlie Christian & Dizzy Gillespie – After Hours


While Dizzy Gillespie is name-checked on the cover, and is present on some of the recordings, the real story here is Charlie Christian.

Charlie Christian was, is, and forever will be the greatest jazz guitarist of them all, and I’ll tolerate no dissent on that matter.

Contrary to many who revere Mr. Christian, I LIKE his “official” recordings with Benny Goodman, and I don’t take offense at the truncated solos. I enjoy hearing a pro do his job.

That said, the outtakes and snippets of radio performances that exist are definitely awe-inspiring and fascinating—those moments when Benny calls a blues and just lets the band jam a bit.

This album is sort of the holy grail for that kind of thing. These raw, live recordings offer a sonic window into the world of Minton’s in 1941, when bop was just beginning to happen, and Christian’s talent was beginning to demolish everything that dared stand before it.

Start at the top, and let Swing to Bop prove it to you. Christian was the greatest of them all.

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