Stompin' at the Savoy
History and Composition
Though the song is credited to Benny Goodman, Chick Webb, and Edgar Sampson, and Andy Razaf, in reality the music was written and arranged for Chick Webb's band by Sampson, who was the band's alto saxophonist. It was recorded as an instrumental by Webb and by Goodman (whose recording was the bigger hit). Lyrics were added by Andy Razaf, who wrote the lyrics to many popular songs. Goodman and Webb got their names added to the song when their bands recorded it.
In Benny Goodman's version of 1934, the piece is written in 32 bar song form with 4 eight bar phrases arranged AABA. The A sections use a Db6, Ab9, Db6, Ddim, Ebm7, Ab7, Db, Db chord sequence. The B section phrases use a Gb9/G9, Gb9, B13/D13, B13, E9/F9, E9, A13, Ab9b chord sequence. The tempo is medium fast.
The recording by Chick Webb's orchestra rose to number ten on the charts in 1934. In 1936 the piece was taken to the charts by Ozzie Nelson and by Benny Goodman. Subsequent to these hit versions and the songs establishment as a "standard" it has been recorded hundreds of times including by: Judy Garland (1936), Charlie Christian (1941), Art Tatum (1941), Clifford Brown and Max Roach (1954), Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong (1956), Jim Hall (1957), Ahmad Jamal (1958), Al Hirt (1961), Sarah Vaughan (1964), and Nikki Yanofsky (with Herbie Hancock and will.i.am) (2007).
In Popular Culture
"Stompin' at the Savoy" is one of the usual songs played to accompany the Shim Sham, a globally-known line dance in the Lindy Hop community. The song was also heavily featured throughout Woody Allen's 2000 film Small Time Crooks. "Stompin' at the Savoy" is also mentioned in Chic's song "Le Freak", which is on their album of the same title.
- Wilson, Jeremy. "Stompin' at the Savoy". JazzStandards.com. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Harrison et al, p. 1.
- Harrison et al, p. 160.
- Harrison et al, p. 282.
- Al Hirt, The Greatest Horn in the World Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- Harrison, Max; Fox, Charles; Thacker, Eric; Nicholson, Stuart (2000). The Essential Jazz Records: Modernism to Postmodernism. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-7201-1822-3.
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