Slim Gaillard

Slim Gaillard at Birdland 1951

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This mono release of Slim Gaillard performances spans live events at Birdland from February to September 1951, with the exception of the closing track, "Ya Ha Ha," recorded at the Apollo Theatre. Joining the talented guitarist entertainer on some of the selections are such great musicians as bassist Slam Stewart, drummer Art Blakey, tenor saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and more. Also included are sound bites of his own spoken introductions, as well as intros and reactions from the MC. The opener, "Flat Foot Floogie, No.1," comes off nicely and features a good guitar solo from Gaillard. But his vocal madcap zaniness eventually goes overboard -- even for him -- during many of the takes, including "Cement Mixer," "Flat Foot Floogie, No.2," and "Serenade in Sulfur-8," resulting in what is almost a self-parody of Gaillard and his trademark silly lyrics and nonsensical words. All of the musicians, including Gaillard, offer up excellent instrumental performances, but the great solos (those of vibraphonist Terry Gibbs and pianist Billy Taylor during "Sabroso," for instance) are overshadowed by the lingering impression of Gaillard laying it on too thick. This release is really for collectors only. Others should start with the excellent -- and humorous -- compilation Groove Juice Special.

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