DB Hall of Fame

SOLO  FLIGHT

THE  CHARLIE  CHRISTIAN  LEGACY

DB Hall of Fame


 

 

TEA FOR TWO
 
Jam Session

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

 
  32  BARS    (ABAC) Key of   A Quarter Note =   212 Time:   4:59
 
 
  8-Bar  Intro  +  8  CHORUSES:
 
  8  bars  –  CC (Intro)
 
    2  chor  –  tenor sax
 
  2  chor  –  CC
 
    1  chor  –  piano
 
    2  chor  –  tenor sax
 
  1  chor  –  CC
 
 

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

 
  Jam Session Recorded by  JERRY NEWHOUSE
 

Composed by: Vincent Youmans  (lyrics by Irving Caesar)
 
©   VALDÉS   12/15/01


 

First Page:         Intro

Second Page:   First Solo:  First Chorus

Third Page:       First Solo:  Second Chorus

Fourth Page:     Second Solo

 



C&A:

Only a month into his recorded career, Charlie Christian was captured on acetate disc by Jerry Newhouse while jamming at the “Harlem Breakfast Club” in Minneapolis.  Tea for Two was one of three tunes recorded that early morning at the after-hours private club when Newhouse and his friend, Dick Pendleton, picked up Charles and Jerry Jerome after their gig with Benny Goodman at the Orpheum Theater across the river in St. Paul.  They were joined by local musicians, pianist Frankie Hines and 17-year-old bassist Oscar Pettiford (on his first recording).

This was the earliest of Charles’ recorded jam sessions—completely unfettered and in absolutely fine fettle.  Clearly his style and technique are already fully formed and developed.  Tea for Two is taken at a fast clip (212 m/m—that’s almost one measure per second) which doesn’t faze him in the least, in the key of A♭.

Charles uses the last eight bars of the tune on which to base his brilliant chord intro after which Jerome takes a two-chorus tenor sax solo—then it’s  C h a r l i e  C h r i s t i a n  time:

1st Solo:  1st Chorus
Charles was known to use open strings on some of his solos, but here he seems to use them more often than on others—they’re found throughout his two solos but especially on the first chorus at mm 11, 15, 17.  There’s a decidedly strong “three-against-four” rhythm on mm 5-6 containing descending notes with higher tones inserted at select intervals—this motif is again found in later solos in various guises—a favorite of his on the dom7 (and a delight for any guitarist to play).  He was also fond of inserting the iv of the upcoming major chord to segue to that chord, as on mm 14-15 (and bar 6 on the next chorus).  Anticipating the chord change by two beats, on mm 12-19 Charles tears off on one of his lengthy eighth-note runs which he normally reserves for the bridge (note the open-E at the end of bar 15 used to maintain the continuity while he casually shifts hand position on the fretboard).

This early recording also shows that he is already thinking in harmonic terms well beyond those of the swing era with 9ths, 11ths, 13ths common on the dom7 chords and ♭9ths, M7ths sprinkled here and there—a favorite of mine (and, apparently, of Charlie’s as well) is the #5 on the first beat of bar 14.  Then there’s the use of the whole tone scale on bar 22 (more of which later on the second chorus) leading into the dim7 over the E♭m/F7 at mm 23-24.

1st Solo:  2nd Chorus
mm 17-20:  Classical composers had just recently begun using the whole note scale—in 1939 Charles was already using this whole tone scale, over the two E♭7 measures.  Someone in the background can be heard reacting to it while CC resolves conventionally over the A♭ on the next two measures.  (Compare this sequence to the similar four-bar phrasing that he played—using more conventional harmony—a year-and-a-half later on the 13 March 1941 Rose Room on the 2nd solo, 2nd chorus, mm 1-4.)

The motif at mm 21-22 is a variation on the one at mm 12-13 on the first chorus.   Again at mm 23-24, we hear a dim7 over the E♭m/F7 sequence, this time introduced by a most effective slide from the preceding E♭7.  CC concludes his first solo with long, swooping slides.

2nd Solo
After a one-chorus piano solo and a two-chorus sax solo, Charles resumes the dramatics with an 5-beat-early entrance of over six bars of alternating-string Fs (falling as 9ths on the E♭7, 6ths on the A♭).  He takes a whole rest, starts the next eight bar section with a very pleasing and creative G7 sequence, plays a CMaj fret-stepping run (infrequently used, on major chords – rarely on dom7) and a correlated G7 run (occasionally used on dom7 chords), and resolves the first half of his one-chorus solo.

Then comes the attention-grabbing, rhythmically-complex (three-against-four, crossing bar lines), harmonically-modern climax of the tune:  descending augmented triad arpeggios over the E♭7 turned around to major triad arpeggios descending then ascending over the A♭.  Those tension-producing four bars are followed by an E♭7 run with one descending measure and one ascending measure and again, as in his first two choruses, a dim7 fitting perfectly over the E♭m/F7 sequence at mm 23-24.  Although this third set of eight bars is not the bridge on this tune, Charlie Christian virtually treats it as such.

For the final eight bars, Charles plays adorned B♭m arpeggios for three bars then slides to a D♭m to set up the appropriate closing.

Transcendent solos!  And these were only some of his very first.


Jerry Newhouse recorded this session on location utilizing a Presto acetate disc recorder (12-inch discs at 78rpm).  At the time, he was fresh out of college and starting out in the paper industry.  The preeminent Mr. Newhouse can also be credited with having recorded countless broadcasts by the bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, et al.  A bountiful number of airchecks released on LP and CD from that era have come from his treasured archives.



 
Issued Recordings:
 
  [ CD ] Arbors ARCD 19168 (disc 1, track 2)
    BD Jazz JZBD022 (disc 2, track 2)
    Definitive DRCD11386 (track 22)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 189 (track 5)
    Uptown UPCD 27.63 (track 1)
 
  Incomplete:
    all incomplete releases omit
the first 4 bars of the CC intro and
the first 8 bars of the second tenor sax solo
 
  [ LP ] CBS 2BP 220094 (side B, track 3)
    CBS 67233 (side B, track 3)
    CBS / Sony 56AP 674-6 (side B, track 7)
    CBS / Sony SOPZ4-6 (side B, track 7)
    Columbia CG 30779 (side B, track 3)
    Columbia G 30779 (side B, track 3)
    I Grande del Jazz GdJ-48 (side B, track 1)
    Musica Jazz 2MJP 1058 (side A, track 3)
 
  [ CD ] Definitive DRCD11122 (track 7)
    Definitive DRCD11177 (disc 1, track 6)
    Disconforme GV1359 (track 7)
    Fuel 2000 302 061 167 2 (track 8)
    JSP JSP909 (disc 1, track 6)
    Le Chant du Monde 274 1459.60 (disc 1, track 4)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 24 (track 6)
    Masters of Jazz MJCD 9004 (disc 1, track 6)
    Masters of Jazz R2CD 8004 (disc 1, track 5)
    Music Memoria 87998 2 (disc 1, track 4)
    Primo / Proper PRMCD 6092 (disc 2, track 9)
    Proper P1491 (track 4)
    Proper PROPERBOX 98 (disc 3, track 4)
    Warner Music France 3007-2 (track 2)
 
  Some releases incorrectly list the date as March 1940
 

 



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