Oklahoman inducted into jazz hall of fame

Friday, May 9th 2008, 6:45 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

An Oklahoma City musician was inducted into the Jazz at Lincoln Center Hall of Fame in New York City and honored with a special concert featuring today's jazz greats.

As a pioneer in jazz guitar, Charlie Christian continues to influence jazz musicians, said Phil Schaap, Jazz at Lincoln Center curator.

"Charlie Christian is cool," Schaap said. "He's like Billy Holliday in that sense or the whole early Count Basie Orchestra."

Christian was born in Texas in 1916, but moved to Oklahoma City when he was 3 years old. Oklahoma is where he was discovered as he developed his revolutionary sound and style.

"In jazz, this manner of reflectivness, sounding like you're at ease," Schaap said. "That's Charlie Christian's method and impact on all jazz players cause they have this relaxed emphasis."

Christian lived a short life, dying of tuberculosis in his 20s and was never the lead on a record.

Guitarist Bobby Broom said he was honored to play at the concert honoring Christian.

"It's joyful to me, like I said, that he is getting the recognition finally, the instrument sometimes is ignored in jazz," Broom said.