Image of Slim Gaillard on stage.

Bulee "Slim" Gaillard

(Vocals, piano, guitar, vibes, tenor sax, composer) 1916-1991

Born Bulee Gaillard, some doubts persist regarding Slim's place of birth, Detroit or Cuba being the two main contenders, but certainly we can assume it was in January 1916. His formative years involved characteristic scuffling to make a living and include being accidentally abandoned by his seaman father in Crete. However by 1937 he had found his way to 52nd Street in New York and was working with a variety of top jazzmen including Frankie Newton. Then providence brought him and bassist Slam Stewart together on radio which resulted in the 1938 hit recording of his own composition "Flat Foot Floogie". There quickly followed similar jive talk hits like "Tutti Frutti", "Vol Vist du Gaily Star", "Chicken Rhythm", and "Matzoh Balls".

Image of Slim Gaillard and Bam Brown.

By 1941 Gaillard and Stewart were a success in Hollywood and appeared in the crazy "Hellzapoppin" film. Like many in the entertainment business at that time they had to put their plans on hold during the war and Gaillard saw service with the U.S. Army Air Force. Following his release in 1944 he worked in and around Los Angeles and again providence brought him and an outsize bassist, Bam Brown, together. With the 1945 recording of "Cement Mixer" the good times were rolling again. In particular their residency at Billy Berg's Club on Hollywood Boulevard, a great entertainment stars' meeting place, established their anarchic singing and jive talk style as a huge draw. Gaillard's jive talk language, known as 'Vout' or 'Vout Oreenie', was so misunderstood that the record "Yep Rock Heresy" was even banned by a radio station for being "degenerate". However the offending lyric was simply Slim's vocal rendition of an Armenian restaurant menu.

Many of their routines were broadcast on AFRS Radio and have subsequently been released on record. Also present were Harry "The Hipster" Gibson and Leo Watson, both wild and unpredictable talents. He also recorded with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker during this time.

However, such was Gaillard's personal life and the morality of the times that in the late forties his popularity waned. In 1948 he penned "Down By The Station" which was a kind of nursery rhyme but attained considerable international success. In the early fifties he popped up in New York and between the years 1951-53 regularly appeared at Birdland with big names such as Terry Gibbs and Billy Taylor sometimes with Art Blakey on drums. Some of these performances have also survived on record. He also recorded for Norman Granz and Dot Records.

Throughout the sixties and most of the seventies it is hard to know exactly what he was doing but he settled in Tacoma just outside Seattle and worked in clubs in the area. In the seventies he appeared in a number of TV productions, notably Roots, which raised his profile again. He secured a booking to the Nice Jazz Festival in 1982, visited London and recorded an album for Hep with Buddy Tate and Jay McShann. He then settled in London and made appearances all over Europe and was the subject of a three part BBC Omnibus TV series. He became an elder statesman to the growing "rap culture" in London, appeared in the disastrous cult movie "Absolute Beginners", and made some recordings with local rappers. He died in London on February 6, 1991.

Image of Slim Gaillard and Bam Brown at Billy Berg's, Hollywood, late 1945.

Click here to watch the Hep Jazz video of "Slim's Jam No. 2" on You Tube!

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Image of Hep CD6 - Slim Gaillard - The Legendary McVouty

CD 6


"The Legendary McVouty"

Outstanding collection of live performances from Billy Berg's with Bam Brown, Leo Watson and Harry 'The Hipster' Gibson during 1946.

Titles - Voutoreene / Operatic Aria / Hey Stop That Dancing Up There / Sonny Boy / Cement Mixer / Chicken Rhythm / Fried Chicken O'Routie / African Jive / Ya Ha Ha / Tutti Frutti / Avocado Seed Soup Symphony (pt. 1) / Avocado Seed Soup Symphony (pt. 2) / Yep Roc Heresi / Gaillard Special / Matzoh Balls.

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £8.99

Slim Gaillard - "Voutoreene"

CD 21


"Birdland 1951"

Live performances with Terry Gibbs and Brew Moore.

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £8.99

Image of Hep CD28 - Slim Gaillard - The Absolute Voutest! '46

CD 28


"The Absolute Voutest! '46"

Collection of live performances recorded during the crazy nights at Billy Berg's Club, Hollywood in the summer of 1946, featuring Bam Brown and guests including Papa John Creach, Bobby Hackett, Willie Smith and Leo Watson.

Titles - Body and Soul / Four O'Clock Vout (One O'Clock Jump) / Yep Roc Heresay / Tee Say Malee / Gaillard Special No.1 / Poppity Pop / Dynamite / Caliente / Take the A Train / Groove Juice Special (Hit The Jive Jack) / Groove Juice Special Pt 2 (C Jam Blues) / September in the Rain / C Jam Blues Special / Ya Ha Ha / Yep Roc Heresay / Eastwood Voutwood / Cement Mixer / Gaillard Special No.2

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £8.99

Slim Gaillard - "Groove Juice Special Pt.1"

Image of Hep CD86 - Slim Gaillard - Ice Cream on Toast 1937 - 47

CD 86


"Ice Cream on Toast 1937 - 47"

Compilation of the best of Slim Gaillard recorded during 1937 to 1947 with Slam Stewart, Bam Brown, Leo Watson, Harry 'the Hipster' Gibson and Frank Sinatra.

Titles - There's No Two Ways About it / 'Cause My Baby Says It's So / Chinatown My Chinatown / Dark Eyes / Flat Foot Floogie With A Floy Floy / Tutti Frutti / Bei Mir Bist Du Schon / Hey Now / Hey Now / A Tip On The Numbers / A Tip On The Numbers / A Tip On The Numbers / A Tip On The Numbers / Slim Slam Boogie / Slim Slam Boogie / Bassology / Bassology / Bassology / B-19 / Who's Going Steady With Who? / Cement Mixer / Yep Roc Heresay / Cement Mixer / Take The A Train.

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £8.99

Slim Gaillard - "Chinatown my Chinatown"

Image of Hep CD2020 - Slim Gaillard - Anytime, Anyplace - Anywhere

CD 2020


"Anytime, Anyplace - Anywhere"

Slim's historic return to the studio with Buddy Tate, Jay McShann and Jay Thomas in 1982.

Titles - How High The Moon / Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere / I Can't Get Started / Slim's Jam No. 2 / Everything's O.K. in the U.K. / The Music Goes Round and Round / Satin Doll / Honeysuckle Rose.

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £14.99

Slim Gaillard - "Satin Doll"

Slim Gaillard - "Everything's OK in the UK"

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