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
 
 

 
Issued Recordings:
 
  [ LP ] BLU-DISC T-1006
 
  [ CD ] BD Jazz JZCD022 (disc 2, track 9f)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 74 (track 10f)
 
  Incomplete:     *
 
  [ EP ] Columbia B-504
 
  [ LP ] Avan-Guard VSLP 213
    CBS 2BP 220094
    CBS 460612 1
    CBS 52538
    CBS 62.387
    CBS 67233
    CBS / Sony 20AP 1456
    CBS / Sony 56AP 674-6
    CBS / Sony SOPM 155
    CBS / Sony SOPZ4-6
    Columbia CG 30779
    Columbia CJ 40846
    Columbia CL 652
    Columbia G 30779
    Coronet / CBS KLP 510
    Philips BBL 7172
 
  [ CD ] Catfish KATCD196
    CBS 460612 2
    CBS / Sony 25DP 5301
    Chestnut CN1003
    Classics 1236
    Columbia 501646 2
    Columbia/Legacy AC4K 65564
    Columbia/Legacy C4K 65564
    Columbia CK 40846
    Columbia CK 91494
    Definitive DRCD11122
    Definitive DRCD11176
    Definitive DRCD11288
    Disconforme GV1359
    Le Chant du Monde 274 1459.60
    Le Jazz / Charly CD 11
    Masters of Jazz R2CD 8004
    Membran 232094
    Membran 232568
    Proper / musisoft EMCD 21
    Proper / Retro R2CD 40-80
    SME / Sony SRCS 9612
    Sony/Legacy 93035
    Universe UV 129/2
 
  *     All incomplete issues are only missing the last bar.
 

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 Ab.  “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 b7th 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 b7ths 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 b3rds 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 b5ths 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 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 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!

 



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