Slim Gaillard


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The year 1946 saw Slim Gaillard's act diversifying like never before. This leg of his chronology finds Gaillard singing and playing guitar, piano, drums, and vibraphone. His guest performers included singing pianist Wini Brown, singing drummer Leo "Scat" Watson (an ideal match for Gaillard's bizarre temperament), bop geniuses Marshall Royal, Lucky Thompson, Dodo Marmarosa, and Howard McGhee, and Zutty Singleton or Scatman Crothers on the drums. Boogie woogie was an essential part of the hip end of popular music in 1946, and Gaillard did it up beautifully in the form of a four-handed piano duet with Wini Brown. "Riff City," a prime example of the "Slim & Bam" act in fourth gear, contains some of bassist Tiny "Bam" Brown's best scat singing. The instrumental "Santa Monica Jump" might be the best overall piece of jazz in this grab bag of recordings originally issued on the Bel-Tone, V-Disc, Atomic, Savoy, and Disc labels. Anyone collecting all of the various volumes of the Gaillard chronology on Classics will experience the thrill of amassing several versions of "Cement Mixer." The version heard here faithfully reproduces the Mexican radio announcer routine Gaillard used in live performance, while in fact "Fried Chicken O'Routee" (a remake of "Ya Ha Ha") seems to have actually been recorded in front of an appreciative audience. The live ambiance is even more pronounced during the "Groove Juice Symphony," also known as "Opera in Vout," presented amid much laughter, cheering, and applause on April 22, 1946, at the Shrine Auditorium. Gaillard and Brown open with Skeets Tolbert's "Hit That Jive, Jack," move into a wild version of Duke Ellington's "C Jam Blues" and cap the set with a fractured extension of Gaillard's own "Flat Foot Floogie" tempered with hints of "Big Noise from Winnetka." This disc contains two versions of "Chicken Rhythm," the second introduced by Bob Hope and issued by the Armed Forces on V-Disc. This interesting segment of the Slim Gaillard story ends with a handful of studio sides representing the full range of his musical persona -- cool love songs, hot jam tunes, and weirdly executed novelties with titles like "Oxydol Highball."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:55
2 2:43
3 2:50
4 2:50
5 3:04
6 3:04
7 3:03
8 2:55
9 2:19
10 3:04
feat: Bam Brown
feat: Bam Brown
feat: Bam Brown
feat: Bam Brown
feat: Bam Brown
17 2:22
19 1:53
20 3:10
21 2:24
blue highlight denotes track pick