Reference Entry

Gaillard, Slim

James Ross Moore

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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Gaillard, Slim (3 Jan. 1906, 1911, or 1916–26 February 1991), jazz musician and composer, was born Bulee Gaillard probably in Santa Clara, Cuba (although a birth certificate shows Claiborne, Ala.), the son of Theophilus Rothschild, a ship’s steward, and Mary Gaillard. He apparently was always known by his mother’s name. Any formal education may have come in Pensacola, Florida, which Gaillard apparently left at age twelve in order to travel the world with his father. Gaillard—a lifelong embellisher of his own legend—later claimed that, en route, he was accidentally left on Crete and that he lived there for at least four years, taking up various occupations and learning to speak Greek. He subsequently traveled the Mediterranean as a ship’s cook, learning the languages, including Armenian and Arabic dialects, he later worked into his compositions, written as well as improvised....

Reference Entry.  1537 words. 

Subjects: Blues ; Jazz ; Composition

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