DB Hall of Fame



DB Hall of Fame



Pre-Rehearsal Jam
MARCH  13,  1941     Thursday Columbia Recording Studios,  NYC

  Free Improvisation Key of   A Quarter Note =   198 Time:   3:30
  ~ 6  “choruses”:
  176 bars  –  CC (w/ drums)
  mm  1-19 add   piano  
  mm  18-38 add   trumpet  
  mm  32-92 add   piano (intermittent piano)    
  mm  49-63 add   trumpet  
  mm  71-81 add   trumpet  
  mm  92-156 add   trumpet [ “Waitin’ for Benny” starts at m 103 ]
  mm  136-156 add   tenor sax  
[ Followed by   “A SMO-O-O-OTH ONE” ]

  GEORGIE AULD tenor sax
  DAVE TOUGH drums

Composed by: Charlie Christian
© VALDÉS   3/13/18  



First Page: mm 1 - 28
Second Page: mm 29 - 56
Third Page: mm 57 - 84
Fourth Page: mm 85 - 116
Fifth Page: mm 117 - 144
Sixth Page: mm 145 - 176



Riffin’ Around is the beginning in the recording of an extraordinary jam session that Charlie Christian presided over while the group was waiting for the clarinetist and bassist to arrive for a recording session held exclusively for the sextet.  This is another fortuitous event in which someone present was cognizant of the momentous circumstances – the Columbia studio engineers recorded and preserved the occasion.

In 1955, some parts of the session were first released in the early years of the LP on the first album devoted to Charles.

There is so much going on in this 3½-minute free improvisation that the comments and analyses are kept brief relying instead on the annotations within the transcription itself to be the commentary.  There’s some typical CC stuff here but there is also a lot that is not heard anywhere else, not at a regular recording session nor even at live events.

This is more like something Charles would be working out on his own, e.g., the repeated figures at mm 48-50 or those famous scales on mm 103-116 or the unrelenting transformations towards the end (mm 150-160 and mm 165-175) are not what one would normally hear in front of a formal, or even informal, audience.  On first hearing, this track is like a fantasy in a dream – it reforms into a fantastic reality only after extended listening.

As Riffin’ Around starts out there is quite a bit of noise in the audio that was recorded.  Fortunately the engineers were able to clear it up by measure 101 which is approximately where (two bars later) the beginning of the segment released as “Waitin’ for Benny” on the LP emerges – unfortunately, it included less than half (1:27) of Riffin’ Around.  Nonetheless, it was the first track on the second side of Columbia CL 652 and every note of that music became indelibly etched into our memory.

The entire 21-minute session was finally released about a quarter of a century later, on the Blu-Disc label, on volume three of “The Un-Heard Benny Goodman” LP series.

Issued Recordings:
  [ LP ] BLU-DISC T-1006 (side A, track 1a)
  [ CD ] Columbia/Legacy AC4K 65564 (disc 4, track 23a)
    Columbia/Legacy C4K 65564 (disc 4, track 23a)
    Definitive DRCD11176 (disc 4, track 9)
    Frémeaux FA 218   * (disc 2, track 10a)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 74   * (track 10a)
    Sony/Legacy 93035 (disc 4, track 23a)
    Universe UV 129/2 (disc 2, track 17a)
  *     [CD] FA 218 & MJCD 74 list Riffin’ Around as part of “A Smo-o-o-oth One (Waitin’ for Benny)”
which begins with the complete Riffin’ Around then segues into A Smo-o-o-oth One after 3½ minutes.

  Also partially (1:27) released on “WAITIN’ FOR BENNY”:
(omit the first 103 bars)
  [ EP ] Columbia B-2011 (side A, track 1a)
    Philips BBE 12272 (side A, track 1a)
  [ LP ] Avan-Guard VSLP 213 (side A, track 8a)
    CBS 159.028/29 (side D, track 6a)
    CBS 177.057 (side B, track 7a)
    CBS 2BP 220094 (side D, track 6a)
    CBS 460612 1 (side B, track 7a)
    CBS 52538 (side A, track 8a)
    CBS 62.387 (side B, track 1a)
    CBS 67233 (side D, track 6a)
    CBS LSP 980 721-1 (side B, track 7a)
    CBS / Sony 20AP 1456 (side B, track 1a)
    CBS / Sony 56AP 674~6 (side F, track 4a)
    CBS / Sony SOPM 155 (side B, track 1a)
    CBS / Sony SOPZ4~6 (side F, track 4a)
    Columbia CG 30779 (side D, track 6a)
    Columbia CJ 40846 (side B, track 7a)
    Columbia CL 652 (side B, track 1a)
    Columbia G 30779 (side D, track 6a)
    Coronet / CBS KLP 510 (side B, track 1a)
    I Grandi del Jazz GdJ-48 (side B, track 5a)
    Philips BBL 7172 (side B, track 1a)
    Time-Life STL-J12 (side C, track 5a)
  [ CD ] Armando Curcio Editore DEJ-54 (track 15a)
    Avid AVC 941 (disc 2, track 6a)
    BD Jazz JZBD022 (disc 2, track 9a)
    Beechwood ESTCD 1 (disc 2, track 10a)
    Catfish KATCD196 (track 20a)
    CBS 460612 2 (track 15a)
    CBS / Sony 25DP 5301 (track 7a)
    Chestnut CN1003 (track 16a)
    Classics 1236 (track 2a)
    Columbia 501646 2 (track 15a)
    Columbia 504295 9 (disc 1, track 3a)
    Columbia CK 40846 (track 15a)
    Columbia CK 91494 (track 15a)
    DeAgostini MJ 1032-1 (track 17a)
    Definitive DRCD11122 (track 15a)
    Definitive DRCD11288 (track 15a)
    Disconforme GV1359 (track 15a)
    Fabulous / Acrobat FABCD352 (track 19a)
    Fine Tune 2245-2 (track 6a)
    Jazz Greats MC 027 (track 17a)
    Le Jazz / Charly CD 11 (track 18a)
    Masters of Jazz R2CD 8004 (disc 2, track 10a)
    Membran 232094 [see Album Index]
    Membran 232568 [see Album Index]
    Not Now Music NOT2CD380 (disc 1, track 10a)
    Primo / Proper PRMCD 6020 (disc 1, track 19a)
    Proper P1134 (track 19a)
    Proper PROPERBOX 9 (disc 2, track 19a)
    Proper / musisoft EMCD 21 (track 9a)
    Proper / Retro R2CD 40-80 (disc 1, track 14a)
    SME / Sony SRCS 9612 (track 15a)
  **     All incomplete issues contain “Waitin’ for Benny” which consists of
only the last 73 bars of Riffin’ Around  +  A Smo-o-o-oth One.
Listed only as “A Smo-o-o-oth One” on  [CD]  2245-2,  AVC 941,  R2CD 40-80.


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