2 February 1932, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Encouraged by his parents, themselves amateur musicians, Christian played piano from an early age. While studying at the Chicago School of Music, he also played in churches and listened avidly to jazz on record. He began his professional career while still in his mid-teens and quickly built a good if localized reputation. Among his early influences was Nat King Cole and as a result Christian also sometimes sang. However, it was as a pianist that he developed his career, always with an ear to current developments in music and in particular, at first, bebop. In the mid-60s he was among several Chicago-based musicians who joined with Muhal Richard Abrams in the formation of AACM. During the 60s and 70s he worked with several leading artists, playing and recording with Eddie Harris, appearing on Listen Here in 1967, Eric Alexander and Lin Halliday. He toured internationally as a sideman, a role he often...