Slim Gaillard


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These 23 different selections recorded in Los Angeles for the Queen, 20th Century, Bee Bee, and Four Star labels feature Gaillard with partner/bassist/vocalist Bam Brown and a variety of different bands, from the Boogiereeners with Fletcher Smith or a quartet with Dodo Marmarosa on piano. A horn section with saxophonists Teddy Edwards, Wild Bill Moore, and Lucky Thompson and trumpeters Howard McGhee and Karl George back the band on four cuts. Gaillard is heard to good effect whether goofing off, playing boogie harpsichord, singing standards, or jamming hard and swinging steadily. The Smith-Gaillard (on harpsichord) combine gets eight shots. There's the wistful scat of the midtempo "Sighing Blues"; the upbeat, Smith-led "Queen's Boogie" and "Nightmare Boogie"; or the slower, occasionally shouted "Voot Boogie. "Sightseeing Boogie," a mellow song with a spoken-word reference to "Gates" aka Lionel Hampton; a straight instrumental, "Central Avenue Boogie"; a more interactive, Queen-rejected "Boogie"; and a more patient instrumental, "Slim's Cement Boogie," all speak to the center of Gaillard's unique approach. With the horns loading up on background charts and solos, Thompson cuts loose on both "Slim Gaillard's Boogie" and "Harlem Hunch," and Edwards gets the spotlight on the rootsy "Tutti Frutti." "Travelin' Blues" is the undisputed highlight, as Gaillard, in a hilarious, narcoleptic stupor, tries to decide at which "mellow" train stop to land: his ex-Detroit home, Cleveland, or Toledo, influenced by Moore and Thompson's solos. Two other cuts with trombonist Vic Dickenson and two unidentified horns are a slowed "Voot Orenee" and the standard postwar ballad "Please Wait for Me." Nine selections with the Marmarosa-Gaillard-Brown-Zutty Singleton (drums) tandem has the leader on guitar, vibes (for the hot yet soft instrumental "Ding Dong Orenee"), and piano. Well-known hits are here, such as "Laguna" ("lyin' in the sun and havin' fun"); "Laguna Orenee" (different key, rejected by Bee Bee); the static, food-referenced swinger "Dunkin' Bagel"; and dueling vocals and some crooning from Gaillard on the easy swinger "Buck Dance Rhythm." Dual pianos crop up on the instrumental "Boogin' at Berg's"; Gaillard sings the standard torch song "Don't Blame Me"; "Carne" is done in Gaillard's "Spanglish" dialect; and "Ya Ha Ha" is the ultimate fun tune. This CD is a companion to Classics label issues 1937-1938, 1939-1940, and 1940-1942. Because this is the latter period's music and is better recorded, it's perhaps Gaillard at his zenith and shows his most developed musical powers. Highly recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:01
2 2:30
3 2:52
4 2:51
5 2:52
6 2:47
7 2:43
8 2:40
9 2:44
10 3:03
11 2:44
12 2:40
13 2:52
14 2:40
15 2:42
16 2:47
17 2:49
18 3:05
19 2:35
20 3:11
21 2:49
22 2:51
23 3:10
blue highlight denotes track pick