This version of Flying Home was the very first of Charlie
Christians studio recordings with the Goodman sextet. It may not have been the
very best of his solos but it is by far the best known version of this tune having been
released on a Columbia 78-rpm exactly a month after it was recorded. (The alternate
take from this session was released a few years later, as Homeward Bound, but
only on the V-Disc label for distribution exclusively to the soldiers overseas.)
Charles was well acquainted with this compositionhe wrote it and had been playing
it since his days with the Leslie Sheffield orchestra. It begins with a four-bar piano
intro, followed by the 32-bar theme (with a clarinet break) by the ensemble. CC then
comes in with his solo and its an excellent example of how to add variety to a
simple harmony not only by the distinctive phrases but by the unique phrasing and by
playing the E♭Maj in all kinds of fret positions.
On five of his seven early solos on this tune he starts out with riff repeated three or
four timesnot so here. But what I find most unusual on this particular solo is
his playing two-bar phrases on the A-sections. I
cant think of another solo where he does that. His normal modus operandi is to
cross or ignore the bar lines as he does on the bridge.
And an excellent B-section it is: I like
that leap from E♭,
up to C at bar 18 before inserting the three-note
between the E♭7 and A♭
measures. In bar 19, he repeats the pattern from mm 17, transposed to
A♭. He anticipates
the F7 by two beats with a six-note
chromatic run which is uniquein fact, the entire run in mm 20-21 is not repeated in
any of his solos. Theres a ♯5 in the
B♭7 (not unusual for CC but it is for that era)
followed two beats later by a Maj7 which he emphasizes as more than a mere passing tone.
The vibes solo follows with Charles prominently heard with his
chord accents throughout the A-sections and riffs
on the bridge. The out-chorus has CC riffs on the As
and comping on the bridge.
To save on web space for future transcriptions, I have elected not to include the
theme, chord accents, and closing riffs here since they are readily available in recently
published books and magazines. However, those publications tabulate most of those
choruses too high on the fretboardthe theme, for example, should be played between
the third and eighth fret rather than around the twelfth.