A Charlie Christian-Style Jazz Lick

Charlie Christian was one of the earliest performers on the electric guitar, and is still essential listening for anyone interested in learning to play jazz. He had a confident, horn-like tone; his solos were perfectly formed and effortlessly melodic.

You can hear versions of this lick in many of Christian's solos. The lick fits dominant-type harmonies, and I'm hearing it as outlining a dominant 9th arpeggio. Equally, it will work over the related ii chord, or over a quick ii V change. Check out Christian's classic Rose Room recording for 2 or 3 variations on this lick in the same solo.

Below, I've written out the lick along with a related 9th chord voicing and arpeggio. If you understand where the phrase comes from and how it relates to the underlying harmony, it will be far easier to implement in your own playing and to come up with variations of your own.