DB Hall of Fame

SOLO  FLIGHT

THE  CHARLIE  CHRISTIAN  LEGACY

DB Hall of Fame


 

STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY
 
Aircheck
 
FEBRUARY  19,  1941     Wednesday “AMERICA IN SWINGTIME”
second annual  American Music Festival
Municipal Broadcasting System (WNYC),  NYC
 

 
  32  BARS    (AABA) Key of Db Quarter Note = 132 Time: 1:05
 
 
  THEME  behind M.C. Ralph Berton:
 
  8 bars  –  CC “Sa-voy” chords (w/ ens)
  8 bars  –  CC chord riffs (behind ens)
  8 bars  –  CC Solo (over ens)
  8 bars  –  CC riffs (over ens)
 
  3 bars  –  CC obbl (behind ens)
 
[ sign-off ]
 

 
Personnel:
 
  Benny Goodman and his Sextet  
  CHARLIE CHRISTIAN Guitar
  GEORGIE AULD tenor sax
  BENNY GOODMAN clarinet
  COOTIE WILLIAMS trumpet
  JOHNNY GUARNIERI piano
  ARTIE BERNSTEIN bass
  DAVE TOUGH drums
 
 

 
Issued Recordings:
 
  < unissued >
 
 

Composed by: Edgar Sampson - Chick Webb
 
© VALDÉS 12/4/2002

 


 

Transcription Page:     Stompin’ at the Savoy

 



C&A:

This is a never-released version of Stompin’ at the Savoy from the “America in Swingtime” radio program which was broadcast as part of the second annual American Music Festival in New York City.  On the whole, it’s just the sextet playing a chorus of the theme while M.C. Ralph Berton signs off, but what Charlie Christian is doing in the background is truly amazing.

The recording only lasts slightly more than a minuteand was not that well recorded so it’s difficult to transcribe exactly all that Charles was doing behind the rest of the band and the M.C.’s voice over all of it.  CC starts out playing “Sa-voy” chords on the first eight bars of the theme as he would do later in June at the “Monte Proser Dance Carnival” broadcast;  on the second “A” section (second eight bars) he switches to sliding Db chord accents.

Then on the next eight bars (bridge) comes Charles’ first recorded solo on this tune:  A refreshingly inventive sequence through the first four barsone of those that you never hear on any of his other solosbefore hitting that open low-E-string that he would later use on a couple of other versions of the tune.  While the open E is sounding in the background he takes an incredibly fast E7 run, then there’s swooping and sliding through the A7 measure before a beautiful resolution of his short solo on the Ab7 measure.

On the last eight bars of the chorus (“A” section again), CC plays a variation on some favorite riffsà la his riffs behind the first chorus of the trumpet solo on Honeysuckle Rose (Up on Teddy’s Hill).  The sextet doesn’t actually play the theme on the second half of the chorusjust a bunch of toots, honks, and stuff like they’re trying to riff but can’tthey start up with the theme again on the next chorus but are quickly shut down by the sign-off.

To quote some of my earlier comments on this gig:  “Charles seems to have been in particularly good form on this date.  The Blues [Charlie Christian’s solo is one of the very best blues that he ever recorded with the sextet] is followed by The Sheik of Araby on which he gets no solo but next, on Gone with “What” Wind, he plays the best solo that he recorded on that tune. CC is very active on the theme to Stompin’ at the Savoy during the sign-off, playing some really incredible stuff while everybody else is just coasting on out.”

 



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