After the preceding tune starts breaking down, a few bars into the third chorus Johnny
Guarnieri calls out, Lets play the blues. Charlie Christian
continues in Ab. Charlie, Charlie,
lets play the blues in B and immediately the piano and guitar are off with Blues
in B at a fairly quick tempo for that key. Indeed, after
struggling for a few bars, near the end of the first chorus Georgie Auld asks rhetorically
What the hell is that in?
B? Eventually he gets himself a bit more
organized but isnt able to contribute muchits essentially Charlie and
The uncommon key encourages Charles to try out some uncommon twists and turns making
this an exceptionally interesting five blues choruses. He was known to solo with a
very loose left wristthis is one on which it really shows.
At bar 6 theres a bent b7th shortly
followed by a sweet, downward slide into the four bars at mm 7-10 which have a tricky
sequence that heralds whats to come. Alternating strings on bar 11. The
bluesy, sliding M7th and b7ths on the last bar set up the next chorus.
The two bars at mm 1-2 are not all that unusual except for how he plays themsame at
mm 6-7. Alternating strings on the 4th bar. Measures 9-10 have a whole series
of b3rds on the upbeat. Octaves on the last
bar lead into the next chorus.
Rhythmically varied octaves for the first three bars with an ingenious transition from the
high frets to the low where Charles plays a couple of favorite dom7
licks on the 4th and the 5th measures. The first of several series of alternating
strings first appear at bar 8 setting up the unusually fingered phrase at mm 9-10.
Another series of alternating strings on the last bar to go into the next chorus.
The figures on the first three bars can be found in other solos (most notably on his 2nd
chorus on Tea for Two a year and a half earlier) but not topped off with the flourishing
sweep on the 4th bar. Dont know where Charles came up with the short phrase on
the 5th of the 4thnor whether its even transcribed correctly. Another
unusually fingered F#7 phrase at mm 9-10 that
starts out with a #5th then has two sequential b5ths immediately preceding an Em
insertion to move from the F#7 to the BMaj. Another series of alternating strings starts on the
The alternating strings continue for three more barsthis series is much longer and
more rhythmically diverse than the previous ones, and uses two notes (6th and b7th) rather than just one (5th). The lick that starts
in the second half of bar 5 is the same one as on the same measure of the third chorus but
here its rhythmically inverted. Octaves again at mm 7-8. Charles then
concludes the chorus on mm 10-11.
Few album releases in the past contain the last five beats that were recorded by the
engineers at the Columbia studio during this jam session where it sounds like Charles is
going into a sixth chorus with some double-stops.
A minute and a half of absolute bluesin B!