DB Hall of Fame

SOLO  FLIGHT

THE  CHARLIE  CHRISTIAN  LEGACY

DB Hall of Fame


 

 

JAMMIN’ IN FOUR
 
mx  R 3459
 
FEBRUARY  5,  1941     Wednesday Reeves Sound,  NYC
(BLUE NOTE  Records)
 

 
  12-BAR  BLUES Key of   C Quarter Note =   214 Time:   4:15
 
 
  8-Bar  Intro  +  18  CHORUSES:
 
      8  bars  –  celeste (Intro)
 
      1  chor  –  clarinet (Theme)
 
      4  chor  –  celeste
 
      3  chor  –  clarinet
 
    5  chor  –  CC
 
    2  chor  –  bass (over CC chord accents)
 
      3  chor  –  clarinet
 
 

 
Personnel:
 
  Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet
  CHARLIE CHRISTIAN Guitar
  EDMOND HALL clarinet
  MEADE LUX LEWIS celeste
  ISRAEL CROSBY bass
 
 

Composed by: Edmond Hall - Meade Lux Lewis
 
©   VALDÉS   9/9/18

 


 

First Page:          Guitar Solo:  First & Second chorus

Second Page:    Guitar Solo:  Third & Fourth chorus

Third Page:        Guitar Solo:  Fifth chorus

Fourth Page:      Guitar Chords behind walking bass

 



C&A:

Among of the first sessions contracted by Alfred Lion’s incipient Blue Note Records label was with The Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet (emphasis on celeste) with Charles on acoustic guitar and the gifted Israel Crosby on bass.

Jammin’ in Four was the first tune on the agenda, a fast blues with 18 choruses, five of which are given to the guitarist – bless Lion for his exceptionally long-length releases.  The guitar highlight eventually appears following long solos by the celeste and clarinet.  As Charlie Christian’s feature unfolds, one is promptly struck by the long lines in his solo with few, or no, pauses between phrases – strikingly unusual for a blues.

Once he established himself in the first couple bars, Charles unrelentingly went on from idea to idea to idea for all five choruses with, uncharacteristically, the briefest of rests.  Beautiful lines – with, if one can make them out, nicely placed details.  Close attention will reward the listener with the fine touches the guitarist has put into the piece.  It is an unrelenting display of masterful artistry – exceptionally inventive.

Last guitar-solo chorus, mm 4-8:  we’ve heard a form of this sequence on other CC solos but never like this.  It’s quite a display of guitaristic and, especially, musical creativity. Unique application, infused with blues.

Meade Lux Lewis is a fine pianist and, on this outing, his celeste solos are almost tolerable but the amateurish comping during the other’ solos is worse than a nuisance – overwhelmingly unpropitious, especially on this tune.  This may be the most difficult studio recording encountered in working on CC transcriptions.  The bassist, on the other hand, is superlative and crisply audible.

Charlie Christian was rarely, if ever, effected by adverse conditions.  He seemed to live in a perfect musical world and went about his brilliant business as if there are no flaws in the surroundings.  Unfortunately, we, the listeners, must contend with all the superfluous crap on the recordings.  This is one excellent solo that would be much more appreciated under better accompanying circumstances.


NB: One of the top two bassists of the era, Israel Crosby had notably recorded in his teens with Teddy Wilson.  Later, he went on to more wide-spread fame in the mid-1950s and into the 1960s with the Ahmad Jamal Trio.  He was a couple of years younger than Charles;  died at only forty-three.  It has also been reported that Crosby recorded the first jazz bass solo in history – at the age of sixteen.


After Word:  After preparing the Jammin’ in Four transcription for uploading to the CC website, I happened to listen to John Coltrane’s recently released “Both Directions at Once:  The Lost Album” and I was immediately floored by how much of Charlie Christian I could hear in Coltrane’s solos.  I had not listened to any Coltrane in ages and I was amazed by my being able to effortlessly conceptualize how easily Charles would have fit in with Trane’s “Classic Quartet” with only a slight adjustment in the rhythm decorum – from swing/bop to avant-garde or whatever it was called in 1963.  Actually, it shouldn’t be too shocking – there’s only a decade between their births and two between the “celeste quartet” and the now 55-year-old “classic quartet” recordings.  Indeed, what Charles was playing could have easily been called avant-garde at that time;  it certainly caused quite a stir in the jazz community.

Coltrane and Christian are, undeniably, kindred bluesmen;  their approaches to their respective instruments and to their solo excursions were remarkably similar and, not incidentally, both practitioners were entirely dedicated to their music.

That new “lost” Coltrane release is quite good, by the way – it’s really got as much blues in it as the notable “Coltrane Plays The Blues” album.

 


 
Issued Recordings:
 
  [ 78 ] Blue Note 18-B (A side:  Edmond Hall Blues)
 
  [ 10 ] Blue Note BLP 5026 (side A, track 2)
    Toshiba-EMI TOJJ-5026 (side A, track 2)
 
  [ LP ] Blue Note B-6505 (side A, track 1)
    Blue Note / King K23P-9282 (side A, track 1)
    Blue Note / Toshiba NR-8101 (side A, track 1)
    Mosaic MR6-109 (side A, track 1)
    Musica Jazz 2MJP 1058 (side B, track 4)
 
  [ CD ] ASV AJA 5410 (track 2)
    Avid AMSC 553 (disc 1, track 14)
    BD Jazz JZBD022 (disc 2, track 6)
    Blue Note 21260 2 (track 1)
    Blue Note 96581 2 (track 1)
    Classics 830 (track 3)
    Definitive DRCD11122 (track 11)
    Definitive DRCD11176 (disc 3, track 14)
    Disconforme GV1359 (track 11)
    Fabulous / Acrobat FABCD352 (track 17)
    Fabulous / Acrobat FADCD2059 (disc 1, track 20)
    Frémeaux FA 218 (disc 2, track 6)
    Fuel 2000 302 061 167 2 (track 12)
    Giants of Jazz 53199 (track 16)
    Jazz Greats MC 027 (track 3)
    Jazz Portraits 14578 (track 12)
    Le Chant du Monde 274 1459.60 (disc 2, track 12)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 68 (track 18)
    Masters of Jazz R2CD 8004 (disc 2, track 8)
    Membran 222764 [see Album Index]
    Membran 222800 [see Album Index]
    Membran 232094 [see Album Index]
    Membran 232568 [see Album Index]
    Mosaic MD4-109 (disc 1, track 1)
    Primo / Proper PRMCD 6092 (disc 2, track 4)
    Proper P1490 (track 16)
    Proper PROPERBOX 98 (disc 2, track 16)
    Smithsonian / Blue Note RD 112 (disc 4, track 11)
    Topaz Jazz TPZ 1069 (track 15)
    Toshiba-EMI TOCJ-66010 (track 1)
 

 



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