1916 – birth of Charlie Christian, American jazz guitarist. Bonham, Texas native Charlie Christian (Charles Henry Christian) (29 July 1916 – 2 March 1942) was an American swing and bebop jazz guitarist. Christian was an important early performer on the electric guitar, and is cited as a key figure in the development of bebop
. In the liner notes to the 1972 Columbia album Solo Flight: The Genius of Charlie Christian
, Gene Lees writes that "many critics and musicians consider that Christian was one of the founding fathers of bebop, or if not that, at least a precursor to it." In 1939, Charlie auditioned for record producer John Hammond, who recommended Christian to bandleader Benny Goodman. Goodman was the first white bandleader to feature black musicians — he hired Fletcher Henderson as arranger and Teddy Wilson on piano in 1935, and in 1936 added Lionel Hampton on vibraphone. Goodman hired Christian to play with the newly formed Goodman Sextet in 1939. It has been often stated that Goodman was initially uninterested in hiring Christian because electric guitar was a relatively new instrument. Goodman had been exposed to the instrument with Floyd Smith and Leonard Ware among others, none of whom had the ability of Charlie Christian.