Slim Gaillard

1940-1942

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Volume three in the complete chronological recordings of Slim Gaillard chronicles the further adventures of Okeh recording artists the Flat Foot Floogee Boys. Garvin Bushell blows clarinet on four titles waxed in September 1940. Bushell's long career as a multi-instrumentalist included a date with Fats Waller and James P. Johnson in 1928 and a fiery residency at the Village Vanguard with John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy in 1961. As a member of the Flat Foot Floogee Boys, Bushell sounds best on the upbeat numbers, interacting warmly with trumpeter Henry Goodwin and engaging in a bit of call and response on "Hit That Mess." Two sessions from 1941 scale the band down to a quartet and signal the return of singing bassist Slam Stewart, Gaillard's original partner in crime. Four titles from March 11 are classic Slim & Slam. "Bassology" is among Stewart's most amazing performances on record and one of the great jazz bass recordings of all time. This session is also notable for the presence of pianist Loumell Morgan and percussionist Kenny Clarke. Moving his act to Hollywood during the summer of 1941, Gaillard began to appear in motion pictures, including an appearance with Slam Stewart, Rex Stewart, and Cee Pee Johnson in a wild flick bearing the title Hellzapoppin'. Unfortunately, this compilation does not contain any portion of that film's soundtrack. What you do get to hear are four swingin' sides that constitute 20-year-old drummer Forrest "Chico" Hamilton's first appearance on record. Still in Hollywood on April 4, 1942, Gaillard and Stewart made three amazing sides with tenor sax heavyweight Ben Webster, pianist Jimmy Rowles, and drummer Leo "Scat" Watson, who couldn't restrain an occasional outburst of his own brand of scat singing. Someone appears to be tapdancing during "Groove Juice Special." If this was Watson then he managed to drum and dance at the same time. Why these three incredible recordings were rejected by Okeh and left unreleased is anybody's guess. This session was certainly a high point in the career of each participant. Gaillard's own progress was interrupted first by the 1942 AFM recording ban and then by the draft board. Gaillard would resume making records in 1945 with a decidedly different cast of characters. As a sort of dessert the folks at Classics have amended the package with four rare recordings by the Royal Rhythm Boys from 1939. This almost forgotten little band consisted of Jimmy Prince at the piano, guitarist Billy Moore, and the mighty Slam Stewart, who sings hip duets with Moore in a manner anticipating the Cats & the Fiddle and the King Cole Trio. Although the Classics discography implies that Moore composed "Peace Brother Peace," this song was written by Clarence Williams and introduced in the mid-'30s by Willie "The Lion" Smith & His Cubs.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:57
2 3:04
3 2:41
4 2:41
5 2:57
6 3:06
7 2:33
8 2:38
9 2:57
10 3:05
11 2:59
12 2:38
13 2:39
14 2:39
15 2:44
16 2:40
17 3:06
18 2:33
19 3:08
blue highlight denotes track pick