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Radio & Podcasts

The Entertainers - Fats Waller (1929 - 1943)

Read "The Entertainers - Fats Waller (1929 - 1943)" reviewed by Russell Perry

By far the most commercially successful of the stride pianists, Fats Waller made his reputation (and his living) through comedy. “He wasn't witty, if that word is taken to imply a kind of humor too subtle to engender belly laughs—he was funny. He was also bigger than life, Rabelaisian in intake, energy, and output. His greatest joy was playing Bach on the organ, but he buttered his bread as a clown, complete with a mask as fixed as that of ...


Book Review

Fats Waller by Maurice Waller & Anthony Calabrese

Read "Fats Waller by Maurice Waller & Anthony Calabrese" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Fats Waller Maurice Waller and Anthony Calabrese 256 Pages ISBN: # 978-1-5179-0391-6 University of Minnesota Press2017/1977 With regards to the jazz piano, who came before Art Tatum, Bud Powell, and Bill Evans. Well, it was James P. Johnson, Willie “The Lion" Smith and Thomas Fats Waller. The latter of these is celebrate with the republication of Maurice Waller and Anthony Calabrese's 1977 Fats Waller (Schirmer). A significant presence in the F. Scott Fitzgerald ...


My Blue Note Obsession

My Fats Waller Obsession: Why Do We Collect Music?

Read "My Fats Waller Obsession: Why Do We Collect Music?" reviewed by Marc Davis

The collector pauses to reflect. As a young pianist back in high school in the 1970s, I fell into the theater crowd. We put on shows and we went to shows on Broadway. One of my favorites was Ain't Misbehain', the tribute to pianist-composer Fats Waller. I was enthralled. This was music with verve and personality, and it swung like crazy. I bought the soundtrack record and wore it out. I bought the music book and taught myself ...


Anatomy of a Standard

"Ain't Misbehavin'" by Fats Waller and Andy Razaf

Read ""Ain't Misbehavin'" by Fats Waller and Andy Razaf" reviewed by Tish Oney

Legendary pianist and songwriter, Thomas Wright “Fats" Waller (1904-1943), contributed several outstanding gems to what we consider today to be the Great American Songbook. These standards include “Honeysuckle Rose" and “Ain't Misbehavin'" (both from 1929), among others. Waller's all-too-brief career reflected the impressive output of a first-rate musician, and showed him to be a talented radio personality, prolific recording artist, and beloved performer both on live stages and in film. Well-versed in the stride piano style, thanks to his early ...


Album Review

Fats Waller: Fats Waller on the Air 1938 Broadcasts

Read "Fats Waller on the Air 1938 Broadcasts" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Fats Waller was one of the top Harlem stride pianists as well as a prolific composer. Waller discographer Stephen Taylor uncovered 15 unreleased tracks in his quest to remaster several of Waller's 1938 broadcasts for this compilation. Three separate broadcasts are heard in complete form. The first is a studio session featuring Fats Waller and His Rhythm. Even without an audience, Waller acts as if he is in a nightclub, with his customary ad lib commentary. Unlike ...


Extended Analysis

Fats Waller: If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It!

Read "Fats Waller: If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It!" reviewed by Jim Santella

Fats Waller If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It! Bluebird Jazz 2006

His career was short, but he left behind the kind of memories that will never fade. Fats Waller had it all: personality, keyboard talent, musical ear, and an intuitive feel for communicating with an audience. He was funny. He was unique. And yet, he was musically superior.

Waller died of pneumonia in 1943 at the age of 39. ...


Extended Analysis

Fats Waller: If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It!

Read "Fats Waller: If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It!" reviewed by David Rickert

Fats Waller If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It! Bluebird Jazz 2006

The first thing that strikes you about Fats Waller's music is how much fun it is. Today we recognize Waller as one of the first geniuses of jazz, both as a composer and as a musician, but jazz is serious business now and it's hard to imagine a guy like Waller doing his thing today.

This is probably why Waller ...


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