Actors: Charlie Christian, Benny Goodman Sextet, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Clarke, Thelonious Monk
Director: V.I.E.W. Video
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Documentary
NR     2005     0hr 31min

When Charlie Christian began playing melodic single-string solos on an amplified guitar, he caused a guitar revolution, moving the instrument out of the background on to center stage. This poignant documentary is an in-dep...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Charlie Christian, Benny Goodman Sextet, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Clarke, Thelonious Monk
Director: V.I.E.W. Video
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Pop, Gillespie, Dizzy, Monk, Thelonious, Jazz, Special Interests, Biography
Studio: V.I.E.W. Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 07/12/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 0hr 31min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Everyone but Charlie...
Curly Q. Link | Somewhere Out There | 08/13/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Recently bought this DVD, excited to catch any available glimpse of jazz guitar innovator Charlie Christian in action. Watched the whole thing, and I'm still waiting. If this "movie" is any indicator, there must not be any film footage of him in existence. This video is a mere 31 minutes long, and consists of a whole slew of known and unknown people who knew or admired Charlie, each putting in their two cents' worth (if that). In short, all talk and NO ACTION. This video might as well have been a book. The closest we get to "The Genius of Charlie Christian" are four audio tracks selectable from the bonus material---c'mon, any audio CD beats that! While some of the interviewees are interesting, jazz guitar veteran Herb Ellis for example, others are nearly incoherent and some are clearly reciting their "lines" from a script! So, don't waste your money folks. If anybody knows of a video with any real live footage of C.C. playing, please post info here!"
Solo Flight-The Genius of Charlie Christian
G. Naron | New Orleans, LA | 03/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Having seen this documentary on VHS ten years ago I was interested in revisiting it on DVD. SOLO FILGHT is a short (almost 30 minutes) but rewarding bio of Charlie Christian, a Texas born jazz guitarist. Christian is credited with being an early pioneer in single string lead guitar, using amplification and talent to bring the instrument to the forefront during the big band era, most notably with Benny Goodman.

Writer, producer and director Gary Rhodes has assemble a collection of interviews with family, friends and musicians who played with or were influenced by Charlie. He chronicles Christian's budding career in Texas and Oklahoma through photographs, local newspaper articles and interviews. The progression of his career from local joints to his all to brief time with Goodman's Sextet also offers a somewhat painful reminder of segregated society of pre-WWII America.

Christian's death from tuberculosis at age 26 in 1942 robbed the world of a great talent, much like the untimely deaths of Janis Joplin, Patsy Cline, Jimi Hendrix and other major influences on our musical heritage.

For those interested in the life of groundbreakers who are not going to receive the big budget approach ala Ken Burns or Martin Scorsese this is a very acceptable program. There are four bonus music tracks on the DVD to give a taste of Christian's flavor. If motion picture footage existed of Charlie it would be icing on the cake, but none has yet to be found."
Okie guitarist gets around.
Devin Winter | 02/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the one. I saw this on PBS back in the early 1990s at a time when no books had been written on Charlie Christian. At that time, it was believed he was born in 1919 and was buried in Dallas, Texas. This 30-minute film went to Christian's roots and uncovered key points in his biography, like the fact he was born in 1916 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Bonham, Texas. Christian spent most of his short life in Oklahoma (and, in the first few years, Texas), so interviews include people who knew him in Bonham and Oklahoma City, including his common-law wife. There are also interviews with regional musicians who knew him then, like Jay McShann. Interviews talking about Christian's short period of glory with Benny Goodman include Lionel Hampton. Overall, SOLO FLIGHT is a kind a moody black-and-white piece driven more by a story of who this fellow was than an in-depth exploration of his music... but if you like jazz stories (or electric guitar history), this is great stuff. Incidentally, fter its original PBS screenings, this film raised enough money to place an historical marker on Christian's unmarked grave."