Irving Ashby Playing “Solo Flight”

December 13, 2008

Nicolai Foss

We have it from Jimmy Raney that he “almost fainted” the first time he was exposed to the recording of Charlie Christian playing “Solo Flight” with the Benny Goodman orchestra. Not surprising, perhaps, for the inventiveness and assertiveness of that piece is hard to surpass. Various cover versions and paraphrases quickly followed. In UK, Ivor Mairants recorded “In Charlie’s Footsteps” with Geraldo and His Swing Orchestra in 1945 (can be found on this record), which is an excellent paraphrase, and in US a young Irving Ashby recorded “Solo Flight” with the Jimmy Mundy Orchestra (here) in either 1943 or 1944. Ashby stays very close to Christian’s original guitar work, but his picking seems less confident than Christian’s.

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