Charlie Christian’s solo on “Solo Flight” (transcribed by: Tim Fowler)

After a brief hiatus from blogging, JazzTranscriptions is back with a classic Charlie Christian solo from Lexington, KY based guitarist Tim Fowler.

Tim Fowler has been a guitarist ever since he saw one as a child. Drawn by a wide variety of styles, he studied Jazz and Classical guitar and North Texas State University(now University of North Texas). These days he splits his time between the guitar and mandolin.   The mandolin, while being native to bluegrass, has a home in music as diverse as Choro to Classical to swing and contemporary stringband. ( )

Charlie Christian’s rhythmic approach was so innovative. All the hallmarks of his rhythmic language are present here in this solo. Hard to believe he was only in his early twenties when he passed away. One could only imagine what he could have developed if he had be given just a few more years, let alone a life time to work on his craft.

Download Transcription here…. Solo Flight 


Good Musicians Borrow, Great Musicians Steal!

“On a Slow Boat to China”

Here’s a great tune that I took from Brisbane Bop. If you listen to Barney Kessel’s “Kessel Plays Standards” you will hear that Jimmie Rivers obviously took the arrangement right from this record.

BK Tele

Download lead sheet “On a Slow Boat to China

Listen to Barney Kessel’s version

Here are a few other versions that I checked out while learning this tune

Y’all know Charlie Parker dug country music right?

It’s facinating to me that a tune written for a musical in 1924 by a composer who studied with Dvorak would become a country standard.

“Indian Love Call” – Rudolph Friml


In listening to Billy Jack Wills, Spade Cooley, and bands from the Western Swing tradition I was introduced to the song “Indian Love Call”. It was one of those songs that immediately grabbed me. There was something about it that drew me in and I wanted to find out about it’s history, learn it and make it a part of my repertoire. The song has been recorded by many artists including, none other than the “Yodeling Cowboy” Slim Whitman, Artie Shaw, Chet Atkins, and countless others including Roots Reggae pioneer Bobby McCook!

How it became a standard: (from Wikipedia)

Indian Love Call” (first published as “The Call“) is a song from Rose-Marie, a 1924 operetta-style Broadway musical with music by Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart, and book and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II. Originally written for Mary Ellis, the song achieved continued popularity under other artists and has been called Friml’s best remembered work.

The play takes place in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and features the sonorous tune in the overture and in Act One while the love interests call to each other per a supposed Native Canadian legend about how men would call down into the valley to the girls they wished to marry. In most (or all) versions of Rose-Marie, including the best-known movie version, the tune is reprised several times throughout the narrative.

The musical was the longest running musical of the 1920s, enjoyed international success, and became the basis of four films with the same title. As the musical’s biggest hit, “Indian Love Call” outlived its origins. The New York Times described the song as being among those Rudolf Friml songs that became “household staples” in their era. The song was said to have been a favorite of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

About the Lead Sheet:

The version I used as a reference for the transcription was Chet Atkins’ version. For the most part the tune seems to be played most often in either the key of D or Eb. The country versions tend to use the IV/V/I progression vs. the II/V/I progression more often than not but there are examples of different subs being used from version to version. I kept it simple here so there would be flexibility to add or subtract subs depending on your taste.

Download Lead Sheet “Indian Love Call

Here is the Chet Atkins‘ version that I based the lead sheet on:

Here is the Slim Whitman‘s version:

Here is Artie Shaw‘s version:

and last but not least Tommy McCook and The Supersonics‘s rock steady version!

Y’all know Charlie Parker dug country music right?

Jimmie Rivers’ solo on “Back Bay Shuffle”

Download Jimmie Rivers’ solo on “Back Bay Shuffle

Someone recently asked me the question, “Who is the most underrated guitarist in the history of guitar?” I can easily answer that…Jimmie Rivers! The album Brisbane Bop from Jimmie Rivers and the Cherokees featuring steel guitar ace Vance Terry is a must have for any serious jazz or western swing fan. The whole record from start to finish is amazing. Luckily for us someone was smart enough to record the band during their four year stint at the 23 Club. Jimmie’s solos are blazing and inventive and even though his recorded output is limited to a few records it was enough to solidify him as one of the greatest guitarists ever!

Jimmie R

Learning to play along with this solo was challenging but so much fun. Some of my favorite parts of the solo is the yelling and screaming from the audience. The raw energy and joy felt in those screams and yells puts you right in the space as if you you right there at the 23 Club digging the band.

Here is where it all happend.
23 Club, Brisbane, CA
23 club

For more info on Jimmie Rivers and the Cherokees click here

Two Jimmy Raney Tunes

jimmy om 57 1

For as much as I absolutley love Jimmy Raney’s playing, I equally love his composing, something I feel he is not known for. Sometime ago I went on a streak of trying to learn as many of his tunes as I could find. There are only a handful that he wrote but these are two of my favorites.

“Action”, which was also titled “Motion” is based on the standard “You Stepped out of a dream” (Also check out Chick Corea’s “Chick’s Tune” for another great line on these same changes). Download Lead Sheet here….. “Action” – Jimmy Raney

“Signal”is a classic example of a tune that embodies the sound and vibe of the classic quartet with Stan Getz. It is basically a Bebop tune but there is a distinct modern/angular shape to the melody that points in another direction. Download Lead Sheet here……. “Signal” – Jimmy Raney  (note: The basic gist of this chart is here but if I had time I would go back and edit some of the ways I notated the rhythms and I would add some of the counter lines and hits that are an important part of the tune..FYI)

To learn more about Jimmy Raney visit the the Jimmy Raney Website