Slim Gaillard


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Recorded in London in 1985 and produced by film director Joe Massot, Siboney was essentially Slim Gaillard's final album and is contemporaneous with his contribution to the soundtrack of the movie Absolute Beginners. Unlike most of the entries in Gaillard's discography, what's presented here is predominately Cuban mood music with occasional bouts of "vout," but the jive is strictly incidental and unusually subdued. Five of the eleven melodies (including the title track) were composed by Havana-born composer and pianist Ernesto Lecuona (1895-1963), and to some extent, this album could be taken as a tribute to that prolific melodist. The softer moods are bundled in string arrangements, while busier and groovier episodes sound a little more like the jive and jazz that characterized Gaillard's erratic and eventful career. Personnel information is practically non-existent; a colorful female vocalist is identified only as "Patricia". This album, which should not be judged too harshly, is so different from Gaillard's earlier work that it almost belongs in a separate category with the tiny parcel of recordings he made as an elderly expatriate in Britain. The best of these, hands down, was the album Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere, which came together in 1982. Until more material from his twilight years is discovered and made available to the world, Siboney stands as the last entry in a genuine odyssey that began with Gaillard's first appearance in a recording studio as guest vocalist with Frankie Newton's Uptown Serenaders in 1937.

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