In the ususal discographical sources there are only very few entries for Canadian pianist and vibist Elmer Gill who used to play with Lionel Hampton for a while in the early fifties, in the period after Milt Buckner had left Hampton’s band. The listings of records under Gill’s name usually start with The Three Sides Of Elmer Gill, the rare LP Gill recorded with bassist David Friesen and drummer Al Johnson around 1968 in Vancouver for Canadian label Aragon (the third side of Elmer Gill is his singing).
Elmer Gill, 1995 probably
in Otto Flückiger’s garden
I met Elmer Gill when I portrayed him for the no longer existing swiss cultural magazine Stehplatz, that must have happened around 1997. Someday I will look up in the attic if I can find a copy to present it here.
I also witnessed Gill at some place in Switzerland, where he was playing with his son, drummer Donald Gill, and a bass player I cannot recall.
My friend Otto had befriended Elmer Gill who was splitting his life between Vancouver and a place in Switzerland, that I seem to have forgotten. Otto gathered a lot of material about Elmer Gill which I am going to present here sooner or later.
Meanwhile, while going through the 45 rpm records in the archives, I discovered two 45rpm records by the Elmer Gill Trio that were recorded much earlier than Gill’s earliest discographical entries– at least one of them. I present them here for your listening pleasure. Please excuse the slight hum, my amplifier is being revised, and it’s replacement – well it hums! The first record is an EP on Chet Noland’s Celestial label, based in Seattle.
Fortunately this one has a “Delta” number (7600) by the Monarch Pressing Company in the wax, and thusly can be dated to a pressing in November/December 1955. What a nice composition!
The flipside of Celestial EP001(Delta number 7599) has Gill moving from piano (Lullaby Of Birdland) to vibes (September Song).
But who are the bassist and the guitar player on the Celestial EP? Maybe the same people as on the next record – which is a lot more mysterious?
Unfortunately this record carries no useful numbers at all (not useful to me that is). And I could not find out anything about the Rube-K label. As you see this (probably ultra small) label was trying to move some glamour towards itself by proclaiming where it was pressed – including the RCA trademarks! Unfortunately the matrix numbers are not from the RCA numbering system which would make the dating much easier. Bassist Al Larkins was a well known figure in Seattle’s musician’s circles, in 1979, two years after his passing, a park
was dedicated to him. Al Turey is well known as a guitar teacher in Seattle.
Winslow is the name of the downtown area of the city of Bainbridge Island, Washington. Up to 1991 the name Winslow referred to the whole city. Bainbridge Island is across the Pudget Sound from Seattle. Can we find out anything else about this company?
Yes: The flipside, on which Gill sings in a way reminding very much of Nat King Cole, carries a composer credit for one Roy Carter King, the publisher is given as Rube King (as in Rube-K). So this label was probably owned by one Rube King who may be related – or even identical with Roy Carter King.
Anyone out there know more about these two records, especially the one on Rube-K? Please let me know!