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, its just
the sextet playing little more than 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 its difficult to transcribe exactly all that Charles
was doing behind the rest of the band and the MCs 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 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 Teddys
Hill). The sextet doesnt actually play the theme on the second half of
the chorusjust a bunch of toots, honks,
and stuff like theyre trying to riff but cantthey 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 Christians
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.