DB Hall of Fame



DB Hall of Fame


FEBRUARY  19,  1941     Wednesday “AMERICA IN SWINGTIME”
second annual  American Music Festival
Municipal Broadcasting System (WNYC),  NYC

  32  BARS    (AABA) Key of D Quarter Note = 132 Time: 1:05
  THEME  behind MC 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 ]

  Benny Goodman and his Sextet  
  GEORGIE AULD tenor sax
  BENNY GOODMAN clarinet
  DAVE TOUGH drums

Issued Recordings:
  < unissued >

Composed by: Edgar Sampson  (lyrics added later by Andy Razaf)
  [ composition named after Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom ]
© VALDÉS 12/4/2002


Transcription Page:     Stompin’ at the Savoy



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 little more than a chorus of the theme while MC 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 MC’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 D 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 continues the solo with an E7 run, then goes on to the A7 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.”

That being said –
The fidelity of this aircheck is not all that bad, but on this sign-off tune the musicians are way in the background and the MC is well in the forefront, so this is one transcription on which I cannot vouch for the accuracy – not many of the notes, much less the fingering.  No doubt there are errors therefore my corresponding comments can be chucked as just a pile of nonsense.  Except the open low E – that long note is definitely there.

Issued Recordings:
  < none >


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