Charlie Christian: “Solo Flight” (edit of both takes)

In February 1941, the Benny Goodman Orchestra recorded two takes of “Solo Flight,” named for the fact that it was a Charlie Christian electric guitar solo showcase. This edit seamlessly combines those takes to offer four minutes of continuous soloing. 

“Solo Flight” wasn’t a particularly adventurous setting for Christian’s playing. Many of his 20-30 second solos on more angular, insect-jazz songs are more instantly mind-blowing. Nonetheless, hearing him invent longer narratives is amazing, and not just for the rarity of it.


Charlie Christian: “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” (extended edit)

Charlie Christian got an extended solo section on this Benny Goodman sextet track (1940), and this edit adds his alternate take solos to the master take. 

Christian’s three solos on the studio recordings add up to 1:45, and the languid vibe of the arrangement during his section made a nearly seamless edit possible, despite the fact that the master take found the overall right rhythm for the song that the alternate takes lacked.

Compared to the anticipating-Chuck-Berry-blartney-blartney of his solos on “Breakfast Feud,” (extended edit here), “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” finds Christian leaning toward West Coast Jazz.

The edit sequence is the master take up to the point of Christian’s solo > two alternate take solos > master take Christian solo and conclusion.

Charlie Christian: “Breakfast Feud” (Extended Edit)

This 6m10s edit of the Benny Goodman sextet’s “Breakfast Feud” (1940-1941) includes the Charlie Christian electric guitar solos from all nine studio takes of the song.

Christian’s tragically short life and the short-solo format (20-30 seconds) of 3-minute jazz songs meant that we only got to hear him stretch out a little bit on the impromptu jam, “Waiting for Benny.” Charlie Christian surviving into the bop and rock eras would have been a thing of wonder, for sure. 

The whopping nine takes of “Breakfast Feud” provide three-and-a-half minutes of lightning Christian solos. Those are edited together here, in the context of the whole performance. 

The establishing take is the first master take, and the concluding one is the next-to-last alternate take - the first an arbitrary choice, the second a random editing outcome.

Six takes feature:

  • Clarinet: Benny Goodman
  • Guitar: Charlie Christian
  • Bass – Artie Bernstein
  • Drums – Harry Jaeger
  • Piano – Ken Kersey
  • Tenor Saxophone – George Auld
  • Trumpet – Cootie Williams

Three takes substitute:

  • Drums – Jo Jones
  • Piano – Count Basie

The piano solo on the edit is Kersey, but I think it’s Basie cackling at the end of the concluding take. The early 1940s small groups kick ass. 

Miles Davis: Three from Brazil (1974)

This 45-minute mix compiles three beautiful, surprisingly chill and slinky performances from the Miles Davis band’s concerts in Brazil, in late May and early June of 1974.

At the time, the band’s lineup was a seasoned funk machine that played its songs in startlingly different ways on different nights. Much of the time, they were super-intense, loud, fast, and angular.

These three tracks find the band playing at the other end of the dynamic spectrum – exploring quieter, slower, opener spaces, painting detail on top of grooves that never let you go. The soloists stretch out into sustained, thoughtful, melodic exploration. The rhythm section makes small moves that have a large impact. And when the giant funk hits, it’s a genuine climax. 

45-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • For Dave (5/25/74, Rio) (14:34)
  • Unknown Original 740419 (6/2/74, São Paulo) (15:04)
  • Ife (5/28/74, São Paulo) (15:25)

Miles Davis: Tokyo ’73 Compressed

This mix presents an edited version of the Miles Davis band’s fantastic performance in Tokyo, on June 19th, 1973. The mix (for an FM broadcast) is possibly the best from 1973.

Though not officially released, the recording is widely available in bootleg form – which is one reason I decided to edit its 91 minutes down 25% to a more album-like experience, lasting 70 minutes. If you need the whole show, it’s out there. If you have never, or have not recently, melted your face with 1973 Miles, then this mix is the blowtorch you need.

Overall, I sought momentum, and a balance of tension and release, with every minute being a thrill. In pursuit of those things, I sequenced the edits in a different order than the set list. (However, if you loop the mix, the last song segues into the first one.) If you want to know more about the aesthetic considerations, see the notes below the tracklist.

Every composition played is included (except for a passing glance at “Right Off”), but all of them have been shortened in some way(s), with the exception of “Ife.” 

Musicians:

  • Miles Davis - trumpet, organ
  • Dave Liebman - tenor and soprano saxophones
  • Pete Cosey - guitar, percussion
  • Reggie Lucas - guitar
  • Michael Henderson - electric bass guitar
  • James "Mtume" Heath - congas, rhythm box, table percussion
  • Al Foster - drums

70-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Aghartha Prelude (5:48)
  • Zimbabwe (9:37)
  • Funk (7:17)
  • Unknown (5:57)
  • Turnaround Phrase (10:43)
  • Tune in 5 (8:38)
  • Ife (22:01)

Editing notes:

My edits were mainly motivated by the too-much-of-a-good-thing principle; less is theoretically more, from a repeat listening POV – or a one-time, stoned-out-of-your-mind encounter. 

In several cases, I omitted the conclusions of performances, which tended to be collective rave-ups on the theme that didn’t add much new information. Some of fusion jazz’s assumptions about a “rock” audience were incorrect. If you’ve explored the crap out a riff, you don’t have to come back and beat it to death before turning a corner. Be more like the Grateful Dead. (One "Sunshine Daydream" event per show is enough.)

I also reduced the number of times the music went down to a minimalist percussive hush. That kind of dramatic move isn’t needed more than once or twice during a listening arc. (Might have been fantastic, while watching the band live.)

And I made a few more surgical cuts, eliminating dull solo stretches that took away from the more incendiary parts of the performances. These edits are few. Mostly I shortened, rather than plastic surgerying. But I assure you that you prefer in advance this Aghartha edit that has the guitar solo jumping in right away. 

Cover based on a photograph by Christian Rose.

Miles Davis: Turnaround Phrase (11/19/73 violin mutation edit)

Imagine the frontline of the 1973 Miles Davis band as several violinists playing a frantic bop homage to Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. 

Then listen to this pitch-and-tempo shifted, re-EQ’ed performance of “Turnaround Phrase” from London on 11/19/73.

The balance on this show’s soundboard is really off, which I think is what allowed me to achieve this weird effect.

Miles Davis: Antibes Festival ’73 Edits

The Miles Davis band’s July 20, 1973 performance at the Antibes Jazz Festival in in Juan-les-Pins, France, is off the charts.

Unfortunately, the sound board recording of the show leaves Miles’ trumpet almost entirely out of the mix. He's extremely quiet compared to all the other players. You can successfully lock your ears on him and enjoy the whole show - on headphones, paying attention - but the mix doesn’t work for general listening enjoyment. 

What this Save Your Face mix does is edit several performances down to shorter tracks that are dominated by fantastic solos by Dave Liebman (sax, flute) and guitarists Pete Cosey and Reggie Lucas. 

Cosey’s soloing is berserk and amazing – think Fred Frith or Snakefinger. This short edit of “Turnaround Phrase” is probably the most punk rock Miles I've heard. 

27-minute mp3 file zipped up here

  • Turnaround Phrase (edit, 4:29)
  • Unknown (edit, 5:28)
  • Ife (edit, 16:42)

Musicians: Miles Davis (tp, org); Dave Liebman (ss, ts, fl); Pete Cosey (g, pc); Reggie Lucas (g); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); James Mtume Forman (cga, pc)

The Rolling Stones: Respectable (1989-2012)

Last month (April 2020), The Rolling Stones dropped an excellent new song, “Living in a Ghost Town.” It has been 15 years since the band’s last album of originals, with new compositions released only occasionally on greatest hits compilations.

The mix presented here is a studio highlights reel curated by someone who has no significant history with 1989-present Stones. It pays no attention to any criteria but satisfying my personal desires as a 1968-1981 Stones super-fan. It’s full of b-sides and deep cuts, and it ignores a number of supposedly big songs from the era. My goals were authenticity and an avoidance of redundancy. (A few cool tracks got cut because they just didn’t fit.)

If you’re a Stones fan who has forgotten or never heard most of these songs, this mix is for you. You’ll find tracks that hit every historical Stones mode, from blues to ballads to bombast. And Keith songs.

96-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

LP 1:

  • Doom & Gloom
  • Let Me Down Slow
  • Saint of Me
  • How Can I Stop
  • Biggest Mistake
  • Break the Spell
  • Jump on Top of Me
  • Anybody Seen My Baby
  • Thief in the Night
  • Laugh, I Nearly Died
  • Always Suffering

LP 2:

  • I Go Wild
  • I’m Gonna Drive
  • Keys to Your Love
  • Any Way You Look at It
  • New Faces
  • The Worst
  • Thru and Thru
  • Lowdown
  • Fancyman Blues
  • Almost Hear You Sigh
  • Don’t Stop

Cover art by Martin Whatson, used without permission.

The Rolling Stones: Miss You Live (1978 Tour Highlights)

This tour deserves way more respect. For one thing, the band performed all of the “Some Girls” songs, except the title track and "Before They Make Me Run." That alone makes the tour’s setlist exciting and historically anomalous. The Stones were mostly a hits band, before and after this tour, and I don’t believe there’s any album that was as throughly performed live at the time of its release.

And it’s “Some Girls,” played exactly right by a gloriously fucked-up and entirely appropriate Rolling Stones. This mix pulls from all the FM broadcasts I could lay my hands on (a while back), plucking one version of nearly every song played on the tour. When it was right, it was great. 

There are a million miles between this band and the thoroughly boring one documented on the 1975 tour album, “Love You Live," released in 1977 – and between the 1978 tour all all subsequent, highly-professional ones. I’m not saying that all later live Stones is to be ignored, but rather that the 1978 tour was probably the last time anyone witnessed the unruly entity that built the Stones legend.

So, this mix tries to lock down that moment in an enduringly satisfying, album-like way. 

I messed with the typical setlist order of the tour, so that all the “Some Girls” material is grouped together. The mix leads and closes with older tunes.

80-minute mix zipped up here

  • Hound Dog
  • Starfucker
  • All Down the Line
  • Honky Tonk Women
  • Miss You
  • Beast of Burden
  • Shattered
  • When the Whip Comes Down
  • Lies
  • Just My Imagination
  • Far Away Eyes
  • Respectable
  • Love In Vain
  • Tumbling Dice
  • Jumping Jack Flash

Important caveats:

  • I compiled this in 2010 and did not tag my selections with dates/locations. Subsequently (2011), The Rolling Stones released a full 1978 show from Fort Worth, Texas. I am sorry I can’t tell you which, if any, tracks come from that show.  
  • This mix was originally (and is still) posted as a Save Your Face virtual boxed set that includes two discs of curated studio outtakes from the “Some Girls” era. It’s one of several such multi-disc sets on the SYF blog. Since this live disc has more mass appeal than the half-finished outtakes, I thought it might make sense to break it out. (And I felt like making a cover image!) Choose your own adventure.

Hair (the musical): 1967-1970 Mix

It may be time for a reencounter with “Hair” (the musical) – as a document of 1968-1970 rock, as a legit/ersatz entry into the cultural stream, and apart from it being a stage musical. “Ain’t got no” is a timely rallying cry. The songs are good.

This mix curates performances from four of the era’s released productions and tries to assemble them into an interesting 2020 alt-music album:

  • Off-Broadway 1967
  • Broadway 1968
  • London 1968
  • London 1970

The show’s music was composed by Galt MacDermot and the lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado. The show’s various arrangers and performers slanted the songs in a lot of different ways.

That created a great opportunity to curate a version that sounds less like a musical and more like a 1969 radio station playing an hour of solid, contemporary pop, rock, soul, Brill Building tunes, etc.  

68-minute mp3 mix zipped up here, as follows:

Caveats:

I’m neither a “Hair” nor musical theatre expert. I inherited “Hair” in multiple production and language recordings from my dad, who died in 2010, after DJ’ing a syndicated NPR musical theatre show for 20+ years. That same dad provided two vinyl LPs of “Hair” productions to me before I was 12 years old, so I’ve got a biased relationship to these songs. 

I have four non-English productions of the show from my dad. Another mix will happen. if you have high-quality, non-English production audio files, please contact me.