DB Hall of Fame

SOLO  FLIGHT

THE  CHARLIE  CHRISTIAN  LEGACY

DB Hall of Fame


 

 

OH, LADY BE GOOD
 
Concert
 
DECEMBER  24,  1939     Sunday “FROM SPIRITUALS TO SWING”  CONCERT
CARNEGIE HALL,  NYC
 

 
  32 BARS    (AABA) Key of   G Quarter Note =   210 Time:   10:22
 
 
  8-Bar Intro  +   17  CHORUSES:
 
      8 bars  –  piano (Intro) {Basie}
      1 chor  –  piano   {Basie}
      1 chor  –  piano   {Johnson}
      2 chor  –  tenor sax   {Young}
      1 chor  –  piano   {Sullivan}
      1 chor  –  piano   {Lewis}
      1 chor  –  piano   {Ammons}
 
    3 chor  –  CC   {Christian}
 
      2 chor  –  trumpet * {Edison}
      1 chor  –  piano * {Henderson}
      1 chor  –  bass * {Page}
      1 chor  –  bass * {Bernstein}
      1 chor  –  ensemble * (piano on bridge)  {Henderson}
 
    16 bars  –  ensemble *
    8 bars  –  CC   {Christian}
      8 bars  –  ensemble
 
     

*     

[ add CC on rhythm guitar ]
 
 

 
Personnel:
 
  CHARLIE CHRISTIAN Guitar
  LESTER YOUNG tenor sax
  HARRY EDISON trumpet
  COUNT BASIE piano
  PETE JOHNSON piano
  JOE SULLIVAN piano
  MEADE LUX LEWIS piano
  ALBERT AMMONS piano
  FLETCHER HENDERSON piano
  WALTER PAGE bass
  ARTIE BERNSTEIN bass
  JO JONES drums
  NICK FATOOL drums
     +  reeds & brass fanfare from the Count Basie band
 
 

Composed by: George Gershwin  (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
 
©   VALDÉS   2/25/18


 

First Page:         First Guitar Chorus

Second Page:   Second Guitar Chorus

Third Page:       Third Guitar Chorus

Fourth Page:     Out Chorus with Guitar break

 



C&A:

The finale of the 1939 “From Spirituals to Swing” concert was a wild affair with soloists from the Count Basie band and Benny Goodman sextet plus –six– piano soloists on Oh, Lady Be Good which is taken at an almost frantic clip.  At intervals, the full Basie band also joins in to provide orchestral fanfare.

The initial release of this concert recording came twenty years later on the Solomon brothers’ Vanguard label in a two-LP box set in 1959.  In the meantime John Hammond, who had originally conceived and presented the concert, had dubbed in sham announcements to the tracks.  This boxed set contained a spliced version of Oh, Lady Be Good that inexplicably removed the third chorus of Charlie Christian’s first solo.  Forty years after that, in 1999, Vanguard Records finally issued the tune with the complete guitar solo intact (but enigmatically omitting Basie’s 8-bar piano intro) along with both of Hammond’s entire Carnegie Hall concerts on a triple-CD set.

Providentially, Charles is favored with considerable solo space on Oh, Lady Be Good, far more than are any of the other plentiful contributors, on this 10½-minute romp.

First Chorus:
Charles is full of surprises.  The guitar solo starts out strongly as usual but with seemingly straightforward phrases – that soon changes.  He quickly gathers more momentum perceptibly gaining exhilaration from his own artistry.  It isn’t long before he has the audience shouting out ebullient encouragement.  On mm 12-13 he plays a familiar phrase presented with a most unfamiliar approach.  Straddling bars 18 and19 are two unique five-note sequences repeated with very disparate lines of attack.  Measures 22-23 start off with the same D7 run as on 12-13 but then it veers off almost immediately on a different path.  There’s actually uncommon phrasing in just about every bar until CC plays the repeated Gs on the last bars waiting for the ensemble to come in, do their thing and get out of the way so he can continue his solo.

Second Chorus:
The first chorus had remained pretty much in the lower guitar range;  after the ensemble is done Charles goes into the upper-most range with a grand slide.  In the next eight bars (second A-section) he marks some time with repeated sixths (E), some favorite riffs and phrases, then comes an extraordinarily imaginative entry into a brilliant four bars on the bridge.  It is sheer joy playing these four bars on the guitar.  The next four bars of the bridge brings on a change-up in approach that continues to the end of the chorus.  Actually, playing the last four bars of the chorus is very enjoyable.

Third Chorus:
After a long-held double-stop, Charles lays out, twice, while the Basie-ites do their band-riff thing, first time improvised, second time orchestrated.  The note groupings at bars 7 and 18 are very similar but come from different harmonies (D7 in the former, C in the latter) into the base chord (G).  He plays a familiar sixth sequence (C6) on bar 17 which is somewhat related to the one on mm 21-22 of the first chorus;  then he skips over the diminished harmony at bar 18 which he acknowledged on the other three choruses.

Last Chorus:
We get an unexpected, special bonus when Charles gets called on to take the best part of the final chorus.  His guitar solo begins three full beats before the actual bridge comes in.  On mm 19-20 CC plays a variation on the sequence at bar 17 on the third chorus of his main solo:  here it’s auxiliary notes on fret 11, the chord (G6) on the 12th fret.

Thereupon:
With a track length of this unusually long duration and so many soloists coming and going, Charles role tends to go relatively unremembered among his other works but, take heed, these are excellent solos and should be given their due.  Top-notch Charlie Christian, with several passages that cannot be found elsewhere.



 
Issued Recordings:
 
  [ CD ] BD JAZZ JZBD022 (disc 2, track 10)
  Definitive DRCD11177 (disc 2, track 10)
  Fuel 2000 302 061 167 2 (track 13)
  JSP JSP909 (disc 2, track 10)
  Masters of Jazz MJCD 189 (track 8)
  Proper P1491 (track 16)
  Proper PROPERBOX 98 (disc 3, track 16)
   
 
  Incomplete:
    Omit the 8-bar piano intro
 
  [ CD ] Definitive DRCD11182 (disc 2, track 22)
    Vanguard 169/71-2 (disc 3, track 20)
 
  Incomplete:
    Omit the third chorus of CC’s first solo
the edits cut from the 31st bar of CC’s second chorus to the 32nd bar of his third chorus

(refer to The Spliced Recordings page)
 
  [ LP ] Amiga / Amiga Jazz 8 50 061 (side A, track 6)
  Fontana FJL 402 (side B, track 6)
  Fontana TFL 5188 (side A, track 6)
  Top Rank 35/065 (side A, track 6)
  Vanguard VRS-8524 (side C, track 6)
  Vanguard VSD-48 (side C, track 6)
  Vogue VJD 550 (side C, track 6)
 
  [ CD ] Frémeaux FA 210 (disc 2, track 18)
  Le Chant du Monde 274 1459.60 (disc 1, track 14)
  Masters of Jazz MJCD 29 (track 21)
  Masters of Jazz MJCD 9004 (disc 2, track 21)
  Music Memoria 87998 2 (disc 1, track 13)
  Music Memoria 88048 2 (disc 2, track 13)
  Vanguard VCD2-47/48 (disc 2, track 13)
 
  Incomplete:
    Omits the third chorus of CC’s first solo plus 7½ other choruses
(refer to The Spliced Recordings page)
 
  [ CD ] Mr. Music MMCD-7040 (track 16)
 

 



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