So, February 7, 1940. The war is going on in Europe, but Pearl Harbor is almost two years away. At the same time, in Manhattan, Metronome magazine has called in the best jazz musicians according to their readers to wax a couple of tunes, a big band take on "King Porter Stomp", and a blues called "All-Star Strut" by a reduced group of nine, presumably the winner in each instrument category.
This kind of pick-up bands are interesting insofar as they differ from our point of view. Two tenor saxes and no Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young or Ben Webster? (OK, Hawkins was just back from Europe, but "Body and Soul" was already out!) A pianist who's not Art Tatum? Jimmie Blanton is not on bass? Not a single member from the Ellington or Basie bands?!!! Quite a travesty, yes, but besides this being a selection being a different time in history, although the swing years are normally presented as an "era" when jazz was popular, it'd be probably fairer to say that popular music was, often but not always, soaked in jazz.
In any case, the men were (in italics, the members of the nonet):
TRUMPETS: Harry James, Ziggy Elman, and Charlie Spivak;
TROMBONES: Jack Teagarden and Jack Jenney;
REEDS: Benny Goodman on clarinet; Benny Carter, and Toots Mondello on alto sax; Eddie Miller, and Charlie Barnet on tenor sax;
RHYTHM: Charlie Christian on the electric guitar; Jess Stacy on piano; Bob Haggart on bass; and Gene Krupa on drums.
ARRANGER: Fletcher Henderson.
Luckily there several pictures from this session (click on them to enlarge). This one, because Christian is still wearing his hat, and Krupa has his jacket still on, as well as their relative positions, may come from the beginning of the session
|Charlie Christian, Gene Krupa|
(from Leo Valdés's site)