DB Hall of Fame

SOLO  FLIGHT

THE  CHARLIE  CHRISTIAN  LEGACY

DB Hall of Fame


 

 

BLUES IN B
 
Pre-Rehearsal Jam
 
MARCH  13,  1941     Thursday Columbia Recording Studios,  NYC
 

 
  12-BAR  BLUES Key of   B Quarter Note =   162 Time:   1:36
 
 
[ Preceded by   “I HADN'T ANYONE TILL YOU” ]
 
 
  Guarnieri:  “Let’s play the blues.....
.....Charlie, Charlie, let’s play the blues in B  
 
 
  5  CHORUSES:
 
    5 chor  –  CC
 
[ cut off ]
 
 

 
Personnel:
 
  CHARLIE CHRISTIAN Guitar
  GEORGIE AULD tenor sax
  JOHNNY GUARNIERI piano
  DAVE TOUGH drums
 
 

Composed by: Charlie Christian - Johnny Guarnieri
 
© VALDÉS   11/13/99


 

First Page:          First two choruses

Second Page:    Last three choruses

 



C&A:

After the preceding tune starts breaking down, a few bars into the third chorus Johnny Guarnieri calls out, “Let’s play the blues.”  Charlie Christian continues in A♭.  “Charlie, Charlie, let’s 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 isn’t able to contribute much—it’s essentially Charlie and Johnny.

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 wrist—this is one on which it really shows.

1st Chorus
At bar 6 there’s a bent ♭7th shortly followed by a sweet, downward slide into the four bars at mm 7-10 which have a tricky sequence that heralds what’s to come.  Alternating strings on bar 11.  The bluesy, sliding M7th and ♭7ths on the last bar set up the next chorus.

2nd Chorus
The two bars at mm 1-2 are not all that unusual except for how he plays them—same at mm 6-7.  Alternating strings on the 4th bar.  Measures 9-10 have a whole series of ♭3rds on the upbeat.  Octaves on the last bar lead into the next chorus.

3rd 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.

4th 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.  Don’t know where Charles came up with the short phrase on the 5th of the 4th—nor whether it’s even transcribed correctly.  Another unusually fingered F♯7 phrase at mm 9-10 that starts out with a ♯5th then has two sequential ♭5ths immediately preceding an Em insertion to move from the F♯7 to the BMaj.  Another series of alternating strings starts on the last bar.

5th Chorus
The alternating strings continue for three more bars—this series is much longer and more rhythmically diverse than the previous ones, and uses two notes (6th and ♭7th) 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 it’s 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 blues—in B!



 
Issued Recordings:
 
  [ LP ] BLU-DISC T-1006 (side A, track 1f)
 
  [ CD ] BD Jazz JZCD022 (disc 2, track 9f)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 74 (track 10f)
 
  Incomplete:
 

All incomplete issues are only missing the last bar.

  [ EP ] Columbia B-504 (side A, track 1)
 
  [ LP ] Avan-Guard VSLP 213 (side B, track 1)
    CBS 2BP 220094 (side D, track 5)
    CBS 460612 1 (side B, track 6)
    CBS 52538 (side B, track 1)
    CBS 62.387 (side A, track 1)
    CBS 67233 (side D, track 5)
    CBS / Sony 20AP 1456 (side A, track 1)
    CBS / Sony 56AP 674-6 (side F, track 3)
    CBS / Sony SOPM 155 (side A, track 1)
    CBS / Sony SOPZ4-6 (side F, track 3)
    Columbia CG 30779 (side D, track 5)
    Columbia CJ 40846 (side B, track 6)
    Columbia CL 652 (side A, track 1)
    Columbia G 30779 (side D, track 5)
    Coronet / CBS KLP 510 (side A, track 1)
    Philips BBL 7172 (side A, track 1)
 
  [ CD ] Catfish KATCD196 (track 1)
    CBS 460612 2 (track 14)
    CBS / Sony 25DP 5301 (track 1)
    Chestnut CN1003 (track 16a)
    Classics 1236 (track 1)
    Columbia 501646 2 (track 41)
    Columbia/Legacy AC4K 65564 (disc 4, track 23f)
    Columbia/Legacy C4K 65564 (disc 4, track 23f)
    Columbia CK 40846 (track 14)
    Columbia CK 91494 (track 14)
    Definitive DRCD11122 (track 14)
    Definitive DRCD11176 (disc 4, track 13)
    Definitive DRCD11288 (track 14)
    Disconforme GV1359 (track 14)
    Le Chant du Monde 274 1459.60 (disc 2, track 15)
    Le Jazz / Charly CD 11 (track 17)
    Masters of Jazz R2CD 8004 (disc 2, track 11)
    Membran 232094 [see Album Index]
    Membran 232568 [see Album Index]
    Proper / musisoft EMCD 21 (track 10)
    Proper / Retro R2CD 40-80 (disc 1, track 15)
    SME / Sony SRCS 9612 (track 14)
    Sony/Legacy 93035 (disc 4, track 23f)
    Universe UV 129/2 (disc 2, track 17f)
 

 



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