DB Hall of Fame

SOLO  FLIGHT

THE  CHARLIE  CHRISTIAN  LEGACY

DB Hall of Fame


 

 

RIFFIN’ AROUND
 
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)
 
 
 
  Nota:
  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” ]
 

 
Personnel:
 
  CHARLIE CHRISTIAN Guitar
  GEORGIE AULD tenor sax
  COOTIE WILLIAMS trumpet
  JOHNNY GUARNIERI piano
  DAVE TOUGH drums
 
 

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

 

Transcriptions

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
   

 


C&A:

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
    Philips BBE 12272
 
  [ LP ] Avan-Guard VSLP 213
    CBS 2BP 220094
    CBS 460612 1
    CBS 52538
    CBS 62.387
    CBS 67233
    CBS / Sony 20AP 1456
    CBS / Sony 56AP 674-6
    CBS / Sony SOPM 155
    CBS / Sony SOPZ4-6
    Columbia CG 30779
    Columbia CJ 40846
    Columbia CL 652
    Columbia G 30779
    Coronet / CBS KLP 510
    I Grandi del Jazz GdJ-48
    Philips BBL 7172
    Time-Life STL-J12
 
  [ CD ] BD Jazz JZBD022
    Beechwood ESTCD 1
    Catfish KATCD196
    CBS 460612 2
    CBS / Sony 25DP 5301
    Chestnut CN1003
    Classics 1236
    Columbia 501646 2
    Columbia CK 40846
    Columbia CK 91494
    Definitive DRCD11122
    Definitive DRCD11288
    Disconforme GV1359
    Fabulous / Acrobat FABCD352
    Fine Tune 2245-2
    Jazz Greats MC 027
    Le Jazz / Charly CD 11
    Masters of Jazz R2CD 8004
    Membran 232094
    Membran 232568
    Not Now Music NOT2CD380
    Primo / Proper PRMCD 6020
    Proper P1134
    Proper PROPERBOX 9
    Proper / musisoft EMCD 21
    Proper / Retro R2CD 40-80
    SME / Sony SRCS 9612
 
  **     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 & R2CD 40-80.
 

 



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