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). Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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