Bill Gaither

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3

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Of the five installments in Document's complete recordings of Bill Gaither, volume three's 22 selections are the most instrumentally diverse. According to the liner notes by Louisville, KY historian Pen Bogert, the addition of an unidentified alto saxophonist on seven titles recorded at the session that took place in New York City on June 23, 1938 might have been suggested by a producer at Decca Records. By this time, Gaither, a friend and proud follower of Leroy Carr, had also expanded his guitar technique to combine the initial Scrapper Blackwell influence with that of Lonnie Johnson. On June 24, Gaither's Indianapolis-based colleague Honey Hill cut his only known piano solos, a tidy "Boogie Woogie" and a swinging set of variations that he called "Set ‘Em." Five days later, Gaither made his only recordings with a pianist other than Hill, anchored by a drummer and with someone else playing the guitar while he sang. According to the enclosed discography, it is possible that the trio backing him on this date consisted of pianist Lil Armstrong, guitarist Teddy Bunn, and drummer O'Neil Spencer. Whoever they were, this little group (and the aforementioned saxophonist) provided Bill Gaither with the most jazz-inflected accompaniments of his entire career.

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