This page uses content from the Slim Gaillard biography page on the English version of Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. This list of authors can be seen in the page history. Rotten Tomatoes disclaims any and all warranties as to the accuracy or reliability of the content.
Bulee "Slim" Gaillard (January 4, 1911 or 1916 – February 26, 1991) was a Greek/Afro-Cuban American jazz singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist, noted for his scat singing and word play.
Gaillard was born in Santa Clara, Cuba of a Greek father and an Afro-Cuban mother. His father was a steward. Gaillard grew up in Detroit and moved to New York City in the 1930s.
Gaillard first rose to prominence in the late 1930s as part of Slim & Slam, a jazz novelty act he formed with bassist Slam Stewart. Their hits included "Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)", "Cement Mixer (Puti Puti)" and the hipster anthem, "The Groove Juice Special (Opera in Vout)". Vout was Gaillard's private term for the hip argot. The duo perform in the 1941 movie Hellzapoppin'.
A later duo teamed him with bassist Bam Brown. His 1945 session with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie is notable, both musically and for its relaxed convivial air. In the late forties and early fifties, he frequently opened at Birdland, for such greats as Charlie Parker, Flip Phillips, and Coleman Hawkins. Gaillard could play several instruments, and always managed to turn the performance from hip jazz to comedy: he would play the guitar with his left hand fretting from the top of the neck, or would play credible piano solos with his palms facing up.
Gaillard's appeal was similar to Cab Calloway and Louis Jordan in that he presented a hip style with broad appeal (for example in his children's song "Down by the Station"). Unlike them, he was a master improviser whose stream of consciousness vocals ranged far afield from the original lyrics along with wild interpolations of nonsense syllables like McVouty oreeney. One such performance is celebrated in the 1957 novel On the Road by Jack Kerouac.
Gaillard appeared in the 1970s TV series Roots: The Next Generations and by the early 1980s he was touring the European jazz festival circuit, playing with such musicians as Arnett Cobb.
He appeared in the musical film Absolute Beginners (1986) singing "Selling out".
In 1992, the Belgian group De Nieuwe Snaar released an amusing ode (in Dutch) to this musician, on their CD William.
His daughter Janis Hunter was partner (1973-1977) and wife (1977-1981) of Marvin Gaye; and the mother of actress and singer Nona Gaye (b 1974) & son Frankie Christian Gaye(b 1975).
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