OKLAHOMA CITY - After a two-year hiatus, the Charlie Christian International Music Festival is back in Oklahoma City.
Christian was a legendary jazz musician who grew up in the deep deuce area of Oklahoma City.
"All the family had a portrait of this gentlemen with a fancy suit on and well dressed and a guitar. The family referred to him as Charles," said Freddy Jenkins, Christian's last living relative.
Christian made history for bringing the guitar out of the rhythm section and into the forefront as a solo instrument.
The Black Liberated Arts Center in Oklahoma City honors his memory each year with a jazz festival.
"It is a tremendous tribute to someone in our culture that is not known for the great achievements that he had you know with him being the first African American to play with a major white orchestra,” Jenkins said.
It’s not just to honor Christian’s memory but to give the Deep Deuce community a great time after being gone for two years with the festival taking place in Lawton.
"During the festival, it's great to sit and listen to the wonderful music knowing that the history is still alive and well even though the times have changed,” said Anita Arnold, the executive director for the festival.
Arnold said bands from all over the country entertain the crowd at the four-day event.
"Having people come up and say you're doing a good job, keep the history going, we need to keep it going, that's what I really value about this experience,” Arnold said.
The festival wraps up on Sunday, starting at 4 p.m.
It’s on 4th Street right across from the downtown YMCA.
Five bands will be performing and tickets are $10.