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Slim Gaillard At Birdland - 1951

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Album Review

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.


Born: 01 January 1916 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '70s, '80s

One of the most eccentric vocalists ever to hit the jazz scene, Slim Gaillard became a legendary cult figure thanks to his own privately invented jive dialect "vout," a variation on hipster slang composed of imaginary nonsense words ("oreenie" and "oroonie" being two other examples). Gaillard's comic performances, laid-back cool, and supremely silly songs made him a popular entertainer from the late '30s to the early '50s, especially on the West Coast, and several of his compositions became genuine...
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Slim Gaillard At Birdland - 1951, Slim Gaillard
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