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 his commercial sessions, Waller focuses on his own compositions, romping through his hit "The Joint is Jumpin'" and playing lesser-known originals like the bittersweet ballad "Inside (This Heart of Mine)" and the upbeat "E Flat Blues."
The second broadcast originates from England, with lower fidelity due to it being a shortwave program. Following a brisk solo treatment of Irving Berlin's "Marie," singer Adelaide Hall joins the pianist for several numbers. Waller backs her on pipe organ in a dreamy "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," followed by Waller's stride masterpiece "Handful of Keys." Waller returns to the organ for a swinging treatment of "The Flat Foot Floogie," Hall following Waller's vocal chorus with one of her own, sounding less formal than on her recordings. All of this session is previously unissued.
Waller's October 1938 Yacht Club broadcast is complete for the first time. He focuses on pop songs, though he includes a lightly swinging take on his ballad "I Had to Do It" and a solo version of his snappy striding "African Ripples." The unissued material includes an instrumental of "Old Folks," highlighted by Gene Sedric's lush tenor sax. Four bonus tracks are remasterings of test pressings of singles plus a beautifully restored, humorous version of "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" (Waller unaccompanied on organ), made for the government's V-Disc program. Taylor includes detailed liner notes and discography information while his masterful touch at removing noise without removing the high frequencies is striking.
Track Listing: Ain't Misbehavin' (Theme); The Joint Is Jumpin'; Inside (This Heart of Mine); I Had To Do It;
E Flat Blues; Honeysuckle Rose; Hold My Hand (Theme); Ain't Misbehavin' (Intro); Marie; I
Can't Give You Anything But Love; Handful of Keys; That Old Feeling; The Flat Foot Floogie;
Ain't Misbehavin' (Theme);Yacht Club Swing (Theme); You Can't Be Mine And Somebody
Else's Too; Monday Mornin'; What Do You Know About Love?; I Had To Do It; African
Ripples; I Got Rhythm; Old Folks; Some Of These Days; Stop Beatin' Around The Mulberry
Bush; Summer Souvenirs; Yacht Club Swing (Theme); Dream Man (Make Me Dream Some
More); I Used To Love You; Come Down To Earth My Angel; Sometimes I Feel Like A
Personnel: Fats Waller: piano, vocals, Hammond organ, pipe organ; Gene Sedric: clarinet, tenor sax;
Herman Autrey: trumpet; Al Casey: guitar; Cedric Wallace: bass; Slick Jones: drums; Adelaide
Hall: vocals; Bill Coleman: trumpet; Billy Taylor: bass; Harry Dial: drums, vibes; Chauncey
Graham: tenor sax; John Smith: guitar; Larry Hinton: drums; John Hamilton: trumpet.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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