Stompin' at the Savoy
History and composition
Though the song is credited to Benny Goodman, Chick Webb, Edgar Sampson, and Andy Razaf, it was written and arranged by Sampson, Webb's alto saxophonist. Both Webb and Goodman recorded it as an instrumental, Goodman's being the bigger hit. Lyrics were added by lyricist Andy Razaf.
Goodman's 1936 version 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/F#m6, B13, E9/F9, E9, A13, Ab9b chord sequence. The tempo is medium fast.
The Webb's orchestra's recording rose to number ten on the charts in 1934. Two years later the piece charted by Ozzie Nelson and by Benny Goodman. Since becoming a jazz "standard", the song 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 and Cal Tjader (1958),, Nina Simone (1959), Al Hirt (1961), Sarah Vaughan (1964), the Boston Pops Orchestra (1991, under John Williams), and Nikki Yanofsky (with Herbie Hancock and will.i.am) (2007).
This song is mentioned in the 1978 disco hit "Le Freak" by Chic: "Like the days of Stompin' At the Savoy / Now we Freak, oh what a joy"
- 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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