Fats Waller: The Centennial Collection (2004)

By Published: | 6,158 views
No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Fats Waller: The Centennial Collection
The centennial of Thomas "Fats" Waller’s birth is yet another good reason to release another collection of his recordings. This one is a nice accumulation of songs (don’t know why “Jitterbug Waltz” is missing), enough to whet newcomers' appetites. Plus, this disc includes a bonus DVD of footage from King of Burlesque and an animated version of “Your Feets Too Big.” The "music video" shows Waller as a jester and entertainer, mugging for the camera. I’ll leave the cultural criticism of Waller and Louis Armstrong to the social historians; this video gives us a glimpse of Waller’s playful nature.

We are here about the music, and Waller was a true stride pianist maybe equal to James P. Johnson. His songwriting on “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter,” “Ain’t Misbehaving,” “The Joint Is Jumpin’,” and "Honeysuckle Rose" is a foundation of the American experience. He certainly admired (and was admired by) the Gershwins.

Waller was also a talented organ player. He loved to find pipe organs in towns he was visiting and play "serious" music. In this collection he plays the organ with Alberta Hunter adding vocals on “Beale Street Blues. His solo piano playing, as on “Numb Fumblin’,” shows both his skilled two-handed dexterity and his close alliance to Tin Pan Alley.

As a wordsmith, the only modern comparison might be Elvis Costello.

Fats Waller’s brilliance shone for a short 39 years. Indeed, those whose candles burn the brightest seem to burn the shortest.

Track Listing: I

Record Label: Bluebird

Style: Dixieland/New Orleans/Swing


comments powered by Disqus
Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

or search site with Google