TiGeR's Blog: I jammed with a guy who backed a cat who played with Charlie Parker|
Posted Apr 18, 2001 - 12:28 AM
Email this to a friend Print this story
A few months ago, after a brilliant Sunday evening session of jazz at The Pirate, I was fortunate enough to be asked back for coffee with some of the musos.
There was some very interesting jamming on guitar in which I joined with a bit of scat singing - pathetically, I don't know the words of any jazz numbers all the way through. Anyway I wasn't booed off so was feeling pretty pleased with myself.
Later, in conversation, one of the guys slipped in that he had once appeared on The Tube with one of his former bands and that he had provided backing for a guy who had frequently played with Charlie Parker back in the fifties. Since the Yardbird is my all-time hero I was more than a tad impressed so I asked the name of this fortunate being.
The answer was Slim Gaillard and it was my turn to earn a few brownie points when I was able to name a couple of Slim's major hits such as Flat Foot Floogie and Cement Mixer Go Puttee Puttee together with the name of his erstwhile partner, Slam Stewart on bass. For those who don't know his music his hep catchphrases still crop up such as Oreeti Orooni or Voderooni - he had a whole language going. The irony was that at the time that they worked together, Slim was the major star with regular US chart toppers and Charlie was the up and comer.
Slim slowly fell from these dizzy heights but he kept on working until his death about a decade ago and our man backed him on a UK gig in the eighties - the decade I mean although Slim was probably about that age too. Our boy was a great fan and had done his homework. He was well chuffed when Slim said: "Man, you know some of my stuff that I'd forgotten." On another occasion, when asked for a key, he replied "Whis-key". A very droll fellow.
For those whose curiosity is piqued, our modest local hero can still be seen and heard as part of Jazz Cafe at The Pirate of a Sunday night with the amazing Max T on keys and a couple of other more than useful sidesmen.