DB Hall of Fame

SOLO  FLIGHT

THE  CHARLIE  CHRISTIAN  LEGACY

DB Hall of Fame


 

 

STAR DUST
 
Jam Session

SEPTEMBER  24,  1939     Sunday “HARLEM BREAKFAST CLUB”
Minneapolis,  Minnesota
 

 
  32  BARS    (ABAC) Key of   Db Quarter Note =   90 Time:   5:49
 
 
  4-Bar  Intro  +  4  CHORUSES:
 
      4  bars  –  piano (Intro)
 
      1  chor  –  tenor sax
 
    2  chor  –  CC
 
      1  chor  –  tenor sax
 
 

 
Personnel:
 
  CHARLIE CHRISTIAN Guitar
  JERRY JEROME tenor sax
  FRANKIE HINES piano
  OSCAR PETTIFORD bass
 
 

 
Issued Recordings:
 
  [ LP ] CBS 2BP 220094
    CBS 67233
    CBS / Sony 56AP 674-6
    Columbia CG 30779
    Columbia G 30779
    I Grande del Jazz GdJ-48
 
  [ CD ] Arbors ARCD 19213
    Definitive DRCD11122 (track 6)
    Definitive DRCD11177 (disc 1, track 5)
    Fuel 2000 302 061 167 2 (track 7)
    JSP JSP909 (disc 1, track 5)
    Le Chant du Monde 274 1459.60 (disc 1, track 3)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 24 (track 5)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 9004 (disc 1, track 5)
    Masters of Jazz R2CD 8004
    Music Memoria 87998 2
    Proper PROPERBOX 98
    Warner Music France 3007-2
 
  Some releases incorrectly list the date as March 1940
 

 
  Jam Session Recorded by  JERRY NEWHOUSE
 

Composed by: Hoagy Carmichael - Mitchell Parish
 
©   VALDÉS   7/29/99

 


 

First Page:          First chorus

Second Page:    Second chorus

 



C&A:

Charlie Christian’s solo on this “Harlem Breakfast Club” after-hours jam session in Minneapolis is the only one of several recorded versions of Star Dust that encompasses more than one chorus.  A tenor sax one-chorus solo follows a four-bar piano intro before CC’s two-chorus solo.

Charles begins his solo by surprising the listener with his unique rhythmic interpretation of the melody for the first four bars, then paraphrasing it for the next four before tearing off on an eight-bar 16th-note romp through the B section.*  These are two breathtaking runs with countless fascinating details – every guitarist would be well rewarded by a thorough study of the sequence.

He again gets close to the melody for the start of the second A section.   The 16th-notes at bar 22 are a variation on an often used phrase.  CC gets rather bluesy for a few bars before playing a variation (m 28) of a phrase used at the same place on the second chorus, then fittingly closes the first chorus on the last four bars.   There’s a couple of flat-ninths – which can be viewed as advanced harmony or just plain blue notes – at bars 17 (Fb) and 26 (Abb).

The second half of Charles’ solo consists of the usual “written” 32 bars heard on all other CC recordings of this tune except for an eight-bar solo break he took at a session backing a pop singer.  He plays chords on the two A sections and last part of the B – the rest of the solo is mostly single notes.  The chordal parts are pretty much the same on all the different versions while the single-notes sections vary somewhat in the details.

This second chorus of the solo was worked out beforehand but it is nevertheless an extraordinarily creative masterpiece.  The double-time chords at bars 5-6 are absolutely astounding, with a 6-fret swoop in the Bb7 measure.  A chordal cadence at bars 7-8 is trimmed down and reused on bars 17-19.  The first half of the B section has those “Pretty Baby” quotes.  Then there’s the incredibly beautiful chords at bars 15-16 that are executed so compactly on the fretboard.

Measure 22 of the second chorus has a clever guitaristic run that’s also found on a couple of his other solos.  With the exception of the octaves at bar 29, the rest of the solo has single-note phrases that vary only in the execution, but Charles cuts loose more on this jam than on any of the other versions.

Charles’ “Star Dust” chord solo was dedicated to his mother, Willie Mae, who had requested that he play a song for her.  He replied that he could not publicly dedicate a song to her but that whenever he played this solo it was especially for her.   A most appropriate inscription to his beloved mom.

* The song has an A/B/A/C structure.  (Each of the four sections consists of eight measures;  the two A sections are harmonically alike.)

 



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