This was the first time Charlie Christian participated in the annual
Metronome All Star sessions; the following January he would be in his final one.
Metronome Magazine sponsored these recording sessions with jazz musicians
selected based on its readers’ poll. Thirteen sessions were held intermittently
for 18 years – this February 1940 date was the second one.
ALL STAR STRUT 7 February 1940
WCO 26490 x breakdown:
The assembled nonet (each of the nine members would get a one-chorus solo) seems
to be in fairly good form for the session. Even so, Charles’ typical blues solo
makes the adjoining (Benny Carter precedes on alto, Teagarden follows on
trombone) eminent soloists sound a bit archaic. Carter, incidentally, was the
most modern arranger of the era.
This unfinished first take was not released until 1983, on a Blu-Disc LP.
WCO 26490 A master take:
The next two takes were slowed down a bit from the initial try. A most
refreshing solo by CC is on this released take. Anyone casually listening to this
ragtime-ish swing blues on the radio would definitely perk up and take full
notice of the guitar solo. The opening phrase in Charles’ solo here became a
prominent part of the out-chorus riffs on Good Enough to Keep four months later.
This take was promptly released later in the month on Columbia 78. Nine
years later it was reissued exclusively to U.S. military troops on V Disc.
WCO 26490 B alternate take:
The best of these one-chorus solos may have been on the last take where it sounds like Charles is really hitting
full stride. There’s an especially notable, and unique, sequence at mm 8-9 capped by a brilliant
ending. Unfortunately for listeners of that time, it remained in the Columbia vaults.
This last take remained unreleased for over three decades; it appeared on LP in 1972.