Thursday 17 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Charlie's sheen

Charlie's sheen

The legacy of Oklahoma City’s jazz pioneer Charlie Christian endures in the annual music festival that bears his name.

Stephen Carradini May 24th, 2011

Charlie Christian International music festival
Tuesday-June 4
Various locations

Kevin Eubanks

In the past 26 years, the Charlie Christian International Music Festival has grown a great deal.

“It was a grassroots party, if you will,” said Anita Arnold, executive director of festival sponsor Black Liberated Arts Center. “You could even call it a block party.”

Named for the Oklahoma City-raised, influential swing and jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, the event has since grown from an informal party to a nearly week-long festival with a full slate of events. This year’s edition features six events over five days, starting Tuesday.

As the festival grew, it changed locations often, each time preceding a revitalization of the area. From the Zoo Amphitheatre to Second Street to Regatta Park, it has turned people’s thoughts toward a forgotten part of the city.

“Every time we went in with the festival, we cleaned it up,” Arnold said. “We’ve been pointing the way. And Charlie Christian pointed the way for a lot of musicians.”

Christian’s single-note guitar style was a part of the move from the sixstring as merely a rhythm instrument in jazz to a soloing one in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He died in 1942, at the age of 25.

But his legend lives on in the festival. If Christian, who would have turned 95 this summer, could have seen the performers on this year’s lineup, he’d see everything from a jam with the local Jeremy Thomas Band to California-based world/fusion group Tizer. The featured musician is former “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” musical director Kevin Eubanks. The final two days unleash several acts in true festival style at Bicentennial Park, 500 Couch.

While the festival will take place in several locations, organizers are in talks with Bricktown Ballpark to have a permanent home, hopefully in place by Christian’s 100th birthday, five years from now.

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