DB Hall of Fame

SOLO  FLIGHT

THE  CHARLIE  CHRISTIAN  LEGACY

DB Hall of Fame


 

 

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

 
  32  BARS    (ABAB) Key of   Ab Quarter Note =   160 Time:   4:14
 
 
[ Preceded by   “I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH ME” ]
 
 
  8-Bar  Intro  +  5  CHORUSES:
 
  8  bars  –  CC (Intro)
 
  1  chor  –  CC (over ts “obbl”)
 
    1  chor  –  tenor sax,  piano,  drums
 
  3  chor  –  CC (over ts “obbl”)
 
 
[ Followed by   “I HADN’T ANYONE TILL YOU” ]
 

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

 
Issued Recordings:
 
  [ LP ] BLU-DISC T-1006
 
  [ CD ] BD Jazz JZBD022 (disc 2, track 9d)
    Columbia/Legacy AC4K 65564 (disc 4, track 23d)
    Columbia/Legacy C4K 65564 (disc 4, track 23d)
    Definitive DRCD11176 (disc 4, track 12a)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 74 (track 10d)
    Sony/Legacy 93035 (disc 4, track 23d)
    Universe UV 129/2 (disc 2, track 14b)
 
  The following release contains only the last 2 choruses
preceding the “I Hadn't Anyone Till You” track:
  [ CD ] Le Chant du Monde 274 1459.60 (disc 2, track 14a)

Composed by: Art Hickman - Harry Williams
 
©   VALDÉS   12/25/99

 


 

First Page:         Intro

Second Page:   First Solo

Third Page:       Second Solo:  First Chorus

Fourth Page:     Second Solo:  Second Chorus

Fifth Page:        Second Solo:  Third Chorus

 



C&A:

Charlie Christian’s two solos on Rose Room are an absolutely awesome display of creative genius on a par, though not as extensive, with his renowned Topsy (Swing to Bop) solos.  Even in a formal studio setting Charles was a fearless soloist—on this occasion we have a handful of musicians in the most informal of sessions playing for themselves, unaware that they are being recorded by a couple of engineers while setting up their recording equipment—here he really lets go with adventurous experimentation done with impeccable taste and originality on a great tune he had played countless times before.

After the quintet concludes I Can’t Believe that You’re in Love with Me Cootie drops out leaving only Auld, Guarnieri, and Tough to romp with Charles on this studio jam session.  CC changes key to Ab and steps up the tempo as he goes into a remarkably unique eight-bar intro.

First Solo
The tune appears to be dying out at the start of the first chorus but then Charles suddenly gets re-energized and takes off with a inimitable sequence at mm 4-5.  He goes on composing a beautiful melody over the chord changes until, starting in the middle of measure 16, he quotes three rhythmically-displaced bars of the Rose Room melody.  The three notes across mm 18 and 19 are part of that melody, played an octave higher than at mm 2 and 3 sixteen bars earlier.  CC continues with his wonderful improvisations, adding some bluesy stuff here and there.  At mm 27-29 he plays a fascinating sequence that I don’t believe I’ve heard anywhere else, followed by another at bar 30 before taking a one-chorus respite.

Second Solo – 1st Chorus
Charles entrance is astounding.  The almost-two-beat delay in the entry and the precise rhythmic placement of the notes adds tremendous impetus to the jam.  CC is really starting to move out now.  Measures 3-5 are beautifully played, melodically and rhythmically turning this way and that.  His ingenious ideas are coming at him faster and faster—there are fewer rests now than on his first solo.  The run at mm 8-9 is not unusual except for the way he gets from here to there on the fretboard.   The triplets at mm 14-16 are unusual, going up then down with augmented arpeggios interspersed within over the Eb7.

The blues effects played on mm17-19 show how Charles had perfect command of startling off-beat rhythm.  The exquisite sequence at mm 20-22 first appeared a month earlier on the partial Rose Room recording of the 19 February broadcast and would reappear three months later on the 6 June Rose Room aircheck, on the same measures—here he starts it off with more flair than on the other dates.  A couple of minor phrases are strung together at mm 24-26—the open-string note (b9) toward the end serves to get his fingering set up and to turn the rhythm around.  Then some up-beat octaves, a hint at a quote, and his signature dyad.

Second Solo – 2nd Chorus
This chorus starts out with his “Every little breeze seems to whisper ‘Louise’” quote which he had hinted at three bars earlier—the quote also appeared (modified) on the first solo, second chorus, mm 17-20 of the 24 Sep 1939 Tea for Two.  One of his favorite dominant-7, straight-rhythm (no syncopation) runs begins at the end of bar 4 with a brilliantly-conceived, open-string b9—absolutely love the sound of that start.  He then caps it with a shocking octave and slide.  Blues effects again at mm 8-10, going from major to minor.  Augmented figures appear again over the Eb7 on mm 14-16 as on the previous chorus with a clever rhythmic change-up on the last beat of bar 15.  Measure 21 features some chords followed by octaves a couple of bars later.   The first note at bar 25 is the b6—advanced harmony for the time—of the Dbm chord.   Bars 28-30 are a variation on the previous chorus’ mm 3-5.  Ab scale at the end.

Second Solo – 3rd Chorus
Scales continue for 10 more measures—then 6 bars of off-the-beat chords (augmented over the Eb7on mm 15-16).  After what seems like a short practice break, Charles resumes with another half-chorus of wondrous improvisation.  His timing is remarkable.  Listen to the effect of the b3rd / 5th AbMaj figures at mm 18-20 and how they then turn into Ab7 phrases at mm 21-22.  CC makes the three Dbs in the middle of bar 23 sound like four.  He puts in some rhythmic same-note-on-alternate-strings effects in mm 24-26 to set up the closing, plays lovely phrases though the Ab / F7 / Bb7, and finalizes the tune on the last three bars, inserting a Dbm between the Eb7 and AbMaj.

There is much here that demonstrates Charlie Christian’s tremendous influence, directly and indirectly, on the forthcoming Rhythm & Blues scene—most conspicuously in the last half-chorus.

After first hearing this recording a quarter of a century ago, Rose Room never sounded the same again.  This was what jazz is all about—a musical genius with complete mastery of his instrument spontaneously creating some of the most beautiful music ever.  It never got any better than this.

 



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