Benny Goodman (featuring Charlie Christian): Seven Come Eleven


Seven Come Eleven


Benny Goodman Sextet


The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Sony Jazz 4K65564)

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Charlie Christian (guitar), Benny Goodman (clarinet), Lionel Hampton (vibes), Fletcher Henderson (piano),

Artie Bernstein (bass), Nick Fatool (drums)


Composed by Charlie Christian & Benny Goodman


Recorded: New York, November 22, 1939


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Benny Goodman shot to Swing Era superstardom leading a big band, but his small groups were just as important. First came mid-'30s Trio of clarinet, piano and drums. Soon vibes were added, expanding Trio to Quartet. By 1939, Quartet had swelled in more ways than one. Adding bass and guitar would've made a Sextet irrespective of the players involved. But in this case, the sixth man was pioneering electric guitarist Charlie Christian. (It should be noted that all these groups were racially integrated at a time when that was rigidly taboo. Benny Goodman was the Branch Rickey of jazz.) This track has a loosey-goosey, rehearsal feel seldom associated with stern taskmaster Goodman, but Charlie's Oklahoma City-bred relaxation was contagious, and "Seven Come Eleven" is a lucky roll of the dice. Nothing complicated here: a simple riff tune with solos by CC, Hamp and BG. But oh, brother, can you spare me a groove! Like the license plates say, Charlie Christian is OK.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz


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