Elmer Gill and Mario Schneeberger
Two weeks ago I spend an evening at the monday meeting of the Jazz Circle Zurich, where Mario Schneeberger was giving avery interesting lecture on the 1953 Lionel Hampton Tour and playing a lot of commercially unissued tracks from that tour. As some may know, Mario is not only a fine jazz researcher (he contributed a lot to the 1946 Don Redman tour page), but also a very fine alto saxophonist (Mario used to be called “Little Bird” by his friends).
Mario was a close friend of deceased jazz researcher Otto Flückiger, who always took his camera with him when Mario was playing somewhere close. And Otto also had befriended Elmer Gill (1924–2004) who, born in Indianapolis, later settled in Seattle and Vancouver. Gill – who is mostly known for having played with Lionel Hampton’s orchestra in 1952 and 1953 – in the 1980s and 1990s could often be heard in switzerland. And on some of this occasions Mario Schneeberger took the opportunity, to sit in with the band.
As I had promised in this post to bring some more about Elmer Gill, i have just put up two clips with Mario and Elmer filmed by Otto on different occasions.
First here is Mario sitting in with the Seattle Reunion Quintet at the “Birdland” (in fact the Restaurant Fasan) in Emmen, Switzerland on May 5, 1992. The Seattle Reunion band consisted of veterans Elmer Gill (p, vib), Jabbo Ware (ts), Floyd Standifer (tp), Buddy Catlett (b), and Patty Padden (d). On “Cherokee”, which I am presenting you here, Jabbo Ware does not play.
The second clip was filmed five years later at the Ortsmuseum (Local Museum) in Zollikon, Switzerland on January 12, 1997. Otto had curated an exhibition about the history of jazz at the museum and this concert was part of the program. Here Mario is playing “Perdido” with Elmer Gill’s trio which consists of Elmer (on a Roland piano), swiss bassist Vince Kummer and (Elmer Gill’s son) Donald Gill on drums.