STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY (1941) – Charlie Christian live in small club
Here is another Charlie Christian track playing live at Mintons in New York City (the other I have uploaded is Swing to Bop from the same session). These are my two favourite CC tracks. However I also love his Goodman stuff, both studio and radio broadcasts as well (see my video of Rose Room).
Charlie not only popularised the electric guitar, but also influenced just about everyone who came after with his horn like solos and sense of swing. As well as playing guitar for Benny Goodman, Charlie did some moonlighting in after hours jam sessions with other musicians in places such as Mintons and Monroes in New York City. On 12 May 1941 Charlie Christian jammed on ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’ at Mintons, with Joe Guy on trumpet, Nick Fenton on bass and Kenny Clarke on drums. Despite the original acetates indicating Thelonious Monk played piano, some consider it was Kenny Kersey based, at least in part, on analysis of playing style.
This live track excerpt is characterised by longer solos than Charlie would typically play with Goodman, and is a good indication of his incredible improvisational abilities.
Famed jazz guitarist Barney Kessel spent three days with Charlie watching him play. “He played probably 95% downstrokes and held a very stiff big triangular pick very tightly between his thumb and first finger. He rested his second, third and fourth fingers very firmly on the pickguard…”. Source: Guitar Player March 1982.
As there is no film available of Charlie Christian playing live, I have included a slide show for this track.