A Smo-o-o-oth One had made its first appearance on a
portion of Charlie Christian’s repertory during the early hours of the
session that took place while waitin’ for Benny and Artie to arrive prior to
this scheduled 13 March 1941 Columbia recording date. It was now decided to tone up the soupçon
and record it as the first tune of the session along with a
previously-composed, temporarily-named piece – another CC composition. Seems
that Goodman was not only late but also unprepared this one time.
Charles selected an unusual dyad for his introduction for A Smo-o-o-oth One
– a very dissonant minor-2nd – perfectly suited for the ensemble’s theme.
The trumpet took the bridge on that first chorus. The clarinet takes the
next bridge which is set within a tenor sax solo chorus backed by CC riffs (also heard at the start of
the second chorus of Charles’ jam solo).
The third and final chorus goes back to the theme, inappreciably altered. This
bridge is where Charles undertakes his only solo on the arrangement – eight
‘written’ bars. The solo was improvised but then it was essentially repeated
on all three takes. A masterpiece actually; it couldn’t have been more
A two-bar coda is added: on the first take it’s guitar with ensemble, then
the other two takes with Charles pretty much by himself.
Charles uses lots of ghost or almost-ghost notes on these short solos. This is
also the perfect tempo for shifting the location of the notes on or off the beat. A Smo-o-o-oth One was Charlie Christian's adaptation of Leo Robin - Lewis E.
Gensler’s 1934 song Love Is Just Around the Corner, with a slightly modified bridge