Fats Waller: The 1935 Transcriptions

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Fats Waller: The 1935 Transcriptions

Ain't Misbehavin'...

Born in Waverley, New York in 1904, raised in Harlem, and schooled by his mother, James P. Johnson, Karl Bohm, and Leopold Godowsky, Thomas "Fats" Waller would have been a giant in American music history without his happy gargantuan personality. A personality, in fact, so big, that his showmanship has often overshadowed his considerable pianistic talent and technique. I admit, it is hard to watch Stormy Weather and see Waller mugging and singing "Ain't Misbehavin'" and take him as seriously as one would take, say Mozart or Clementi. But, that would be our 21st century folly.

In perfect truth, Waller is of central importance, indeed to the New York stride tradition. Predating Art Tatum, it was Waller who, from the bandstand, referred to Tatum as God when Tatum entered a club where Waller was playing. If Tatum is God, I suspect that Waller if John the Baptist. Yes, I think that is right. Waller contributed some of the most durable standard to the Jazz Canon. "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Blue Turning Grey Over You," "Smashing Thirds," "Handful of Keys," and "Honeysuckle Rose" beam with his Waller's good nature and enormous talent.

The current Naxos Jazz Legends release details the entire March 1935 program of medleys from the CBS radio "Rhythm Club" broadcasts. This music was originally captured on 16-inch transcription discs. The entire disc reminds me of a Robert Plant-Jimmy Page concert I witnessed in 1997. In that show, the working half of Led Zeppelin guided the audience down memory lane with medleys and snippets of Zep songs, all ingeniously combined, shot out of a machine gun. In that show the music lacked substance, in spite of the principles performing. Waller avoids this with the sheer force of his talent. He presents his material in clever combinations at a gattling gun pace. It is almost overwhelming. When it is over, the listener can't help but say, "Wow!"

These sides are well suited for the uninitiated in Fats Waller. The disc amply displays his keyboard and singing prowess. Waller's supreme good nature is abundant. A great starting place at a great price.

Track Listing: Baby Brown/Viper's Drag/How Can You Face Me?; Dinah/Handful Of Keys/Solitude; I'm Craxy 'Bout My Baby/Teat For Two/Believe It, Beloved; Sweet Sue, Just You/Somebody Stole My Gal/Honeysuckle Rose; Night Wind/African Ripples/Because Of Once Upon A Time; Where Were You On The Night Of June The Third;/Clothesline Ballet/Don't Let It Bother You; Fats Waller's Original E Flat Blues; Alligator Crawl; Zonky; Hallelujah/Do Me A Favor/California Here I Come; I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling;/My Fate Is In Our Hands/Ain't Misbehavin'; You're The Top/Blue Turning Grey Over You/Russian Fantasy. (Total Time: 67:41).

Personnel: Fats Waller: Piano.

Year Released: 2001 | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Centreline Theory" CD/LP/Track Review Centreline Theory
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Down Memory Lane 2 / Down Memory Lane Vol. 3, The Power Package" CD/LP/Track Review Down Memory Lane 2 / Down Memory Lane Vol. 3, The Power...
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Duo
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "The Expensive Train Set" CD/LP/Track Review The Expensive Train Set
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 5, 2016
Read "Henry" CD/LP/Track Review Henry
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald" CD/LP/Track Review The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus


Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!