DB Hall of Fame

SOLO  FLIGHT

THE  CHARLIE  CHRISTIAN  LEGACY

DB Hall of Fame


 

 

GRAND SLAM
(BOY MEETS GOY )
(BOY MEETS GIRL)
 
mx  WCO 26744 B
 
APRIL  10,  1940   *      Wednesday HOLLYWOOD
World Broadcasting System
[ for COLUMBIA Records ]   *
 

 
  12-BAR  BLUES   (Boogie) Key of   F Quarter Note =   200 Time:   2:49
 
 
  8-Bar  Intro  +  11  CHORUSES:
 
    8 bars  –  CC & ensemble (Intro Riffs)
 
    24 bars  –  clarinet
 
  24 bars  –  CC
 
    24 bars  –  vibes
 
    24 bars  –  piano
 
    12 bars  –  clarinet
 
    24 bars  –  clarinet & vibes
 
 

 
Personnel:
 
  Benny Goodman Sextet
  CHARLIE CHRISTIAN Guitar
  BENNY GOODMAN clarinet
  LIONEL HAMPTON vibes
  JOHNNY GUARNIERI piano
  ARTIE BERNSTEIN bass
  NICK FATOOL drums
 
 

 
Issued Recordings:
 
  [ 78 ] Columbia 35482
    Columbia 36722
    Columbia C-102
 
  [ EP ] Columbia RLS 799  (SEGC.10)
 
  [ LP ] CBS 2BP 220094
    CBS 460612 1
    CBS 62.581
    CBS 67233
    CBS / Sony 56AP 674-6
    Columbia CG 30779
    Columbia CJ 40846
    Columbia G 30779
 
  [ CD ] ABM ABMMCD 1209
    Acrobat ACRCD 160
    BD Jazz JZBD022
    Best of Jazz 4032
    Catfish KATCD196
    CBS 460612 2
    Chestnut CN1003
    Columbia 501646 2
    Columbia/Legacy AC4K 65564 (disc 1, tracks 16 & 25)
    Columbia/Legacy C4K 65564 (disc 1, track 16)
    Columbia CK 40846
    Columbia CK 86834
    Columbia CK 91494
    Definitive DRCD11176
    Definitive DRCD11288
    Giants of Jazz 53039
    History 20.1960-HI
    History 20.1975-HI
    Jasmine JASMCD 2539
    JSP Records JSP911
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 40
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 9004
    Past Perfect 205798-203
    Proper PROPERBOX 98
    SME / Sony SRCS 9612
    Sony/Legacy 93035 (disc 1, track 16)
    Sony Music Media SMM 517115 2
    Topaz Jazz TPZ 1017
    Universe UV 129/2
 
 

 
  * Matrix assigned on  APRIL 16, 1940
  Recorded by the World Broadcasting System, Inc. (Hollywood)
  for the Columbia Recording Corp. (NYC)
 

Composed by: Benny Goodman
 
© VALDÉS   8/19/00

 


 

Transcription Page:     Grand Slam  —  take B  (master take)

 



C&A:

Charlie Christian’s solo on the boogie Grand Slam must be one of the most underrated of all his solos.  All of the critical assessments I’ve read consider it no more than ordinary, but many noted jazz guitarists disagree.   To quote Jim Hall in an interview of about a decade ago referring to when he was thirteen years old and had been playing guitar for three years:  “I heard a recording of Charlie’s solo on Grand Slam and that was it.  Jazz was going to be my life!”

Charles begins his solo—swinging fervently as usual—with the same phrasing that he used on the first take of this tune (this is the second take, which was selected as the master) but using entirely different notes.  He ends, at bar 3, slurring up to the tonic (F) rather than to the usual third (A).  That's followed by a clever Bb7 line:  b7th (Ab), 8th (Bb), 9th (C), 13th (G), topped by a couple of triplets.  On mm 8-9 he plays a figure that’s identical to one he also used on the first take—here it’s over the C7, on the other take it was over the Bb7.

The entire second chorus is what really makes this solo so great;  it’s particularly fascinating from a guitarist’s point of view.  Alternating strings on the off-beat set up a four-note phrase repeated four times, each containing one note a half-step higher than on the previous one (mm 1-2 of the second chorus).  After a pause, it’s resolved with a short F7 descending burst.  Then, higher up, he immediately starts a long descending Bb7 run before ascending to culminate in a brilliant F phrase. Ingenious Fdim7 notes on alternating strings are followed by a couple of pre-bent Cs (mm 8-10).  He ends his solo with a phrase that’s virtually identical to the ending of his solo on an unreleased, untitled tune (in Db) recorded a week earlier in the same studio.

I believe it’s the best of Charles’ blues solos with the sextet in the studio:  very logically constructed;  melodic and bluesy.  It’s my favorite of his fast blues solos.

 



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