DB Hall of Fame

SOLO  FLIGHT

THE  CHARLIE  CHRISTIAN  LEGACY

DB Hall of Fame


 

 

ROYAL GARDEN BLUES
 
mx  CO 29028-2
 
NOVEMBER  7,  1940     Thursday Columbia Studios,  NYC
 

 
  12-BAR  BLUES Key of   F / B Quarter Note =   200 Time:   2:44
 
 
  4  CHORUSES (in F)  +  4-Bar Interlude (in B)  +  7  CHORUSES (in B):
 
      In the Key of F:
 
    24 bars  –  trumpet (Verse)
 
      4 bars  –  trumpet, clarinet, piano (Refrain)
    8 bars  –  CC
 
      4 bars  –  sax, trumpet, clarinet, piano (Refrain)
    8 bars  –  CC
 
      In the Key of B:
 
      4 bars  –  trumpet (Interlude – chorus intro)
 
  12 bars  –  CC & ensemble (Theme Riffs)
 
  12 bars  –  trumpet (over CC & ensemble – Theme Riffs)
 
  12 bars  –  trumpet (over CC & ensemble riffs)
 
  48 bars  –  clarinet (over CC & ensemble riffs)
 
 

 
Personnel:
 
  Benny Goodman and his Sextet
  CHARLIE CHRISTIAN Guitar
  GEORGIE AULD tenor sax
  BENNY GOODMAN clarinet
  COOTIE WILLIAMS trumpet
  COUNT BASIE piano
  ARTIE BERNSTEIN bass
  HARRY JAEGER drums
 
 

Composed by: Clarence Williams – Spencer Williams
 
©   VALDÉS   11/11/18


 

Royal Garden Blues   take 1                                      mx CO 29028-2
 

Page One:        Guitar Solos

Page Two:        Theme Riffs

Page Three:      Riffs   (on trumpet, clarinet solos)

Page Four:        Riffs   (on clarinet solos)

 



C&A:

Royal Garden Blues features Cootie Williams and his trumpet on his second day of his brand new contract with the band.  He is also featured later in the session on the intro to Benny’s Bugle (on which CC gets much more solo space than on this one) which was used again by the sextet unlike Royal Garden Blues which was only recorded on this one session.

Charlie Christian gets only 8 bars on two choruses but he swings like all get-out and performs very well in the short space-time allocated – there’s just not much to comment on since there’s no way to develop a meaningful solo within this brief duration.  Charles admirably makes the most of it and also makes his presence known on the riffs.  The riffs, by the way, are somewhat liberally interpreted by all.

CO 29028-2   (take 1)
Charles immediately finds a fitting opening for his solo following the 4-bar refrain played consecutively by the trumpet, clarinet, and piano.  Both solos are revisits to familiar panoplies with wonderful new trimmings and sp; Both solos are revisits to familiar panoplies with wonderful new trimmings and accessories.

  LISTEN   Guitar Solo – first take    


CO 29028-3   (take 2)
The guitar solo opening is the same as on the first take but then gradually deviates via a different, less adventuresome path.  On the second solo chorus only the details are different from the first take.
A chorus of riffs is added after the trumpet solo on this second take.

  LISTEN   Guitar Solo – second take


CO 29028-1   (take 3 – master)
Charles’ opening statement leaves no doubt that this is a blues.  Since this solo is so similar to the others, the interest again is on the details.  And, oh yeah, we have some headline news here on this master take:  Charles misses his triplet on the first beat of bar nine of the second chorus.
The chorus after the trumpet solo on this particular take is changed to a sort of piano solo which, guitar solos aside, makes this the best take – Charles riffing with Basie, bass, drums.

  LISTEN   Guitar Solo – master take


This may not be one of the more favored CC tunes but the swingin’ guitar solos and riffing are a joy and worth a close listen.  The solos on Royal Garden Blues are not identical but do generally conform to the same basic pattern.  Charles’ pro tem “composed” solos fit in perfectly with what is a well-done, most-likely-“head” arrangement.  Comparing the details in the three versions gives a good insight on the ontogenesis of his solos – at least, on this tune.

The leader’s screeching clarinet solos, though, may well be his worse work with the sextet during Charles’ tenure.  The clarinetist is probably attempting to generate some excitement into his solos but, to this listener, he falls far short of his goal and just sounds rather frenzied with no direction or purpose.  This is not the Goodman of the elegant ballad melodies.  Joe Guy sounded more coherent and tasteful at the Minton sessions.  But then, this discord may only be this reviewer’s idiosyncratic aversion to shrill sounds such as nails scraping across a chalkboard.  Even so, it’s surprising that he and Columbia would approve it for actual release.

In any case, it’s interesting to hear how Charlie Christian enhances his masterful riffing by continually varying the syncopation, note/rest duration, and emphasis in his phrasing.  This sort of variety is applied to all his riffing throughout his recorded legacy.

 


 
Issued Recordings:
 
  [ LP ] Jazz Archives JA-6 (side A, track 8)
 
  [ CD ] Archives of Jazz 380106 2 (track 8)
    Archives of Jazz 389106 2 (track 8)
    Columbia/Legacy AC4K 65564 (disc 2, track 22)
    Columbia/Legacy C4K 65564 (disc 2, track 22)
    Frémeaux FA 218 (disc 1, track 18)
    Jazz Unlimited JUCD 2013 (track 5)
    Le Chant du Monde 274 1357.58 (disc 2, track 5)
    Le Chant du Monde 274 1459.60 (disc 2, track 6)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 67 (track 1)
    Sony/Legacy 93035 (disc 2, track 22)
 

 



 

 


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