Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A Handful of Fats: Original 1929-1942 Recordings
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Classical
Although Fats Waller presented himself as a comic figure in his many compositions, he was a musician of high caliber, who brought great skill and virtuosity to both his composing and playing. Throughout this second volume ... more »
Although Fats Waller presented himself as a comic figure in his many compositions, he was a musician of high caliber, who brought great skill and virtuosity to both his composing and playing. Throughout this second volume dedicated to his legendary recordings, Fats Waller?s inimitable and infectiously enjoyable piano style and vocals may be enjoyed to the full.
Five Fats Wallers in One
Penguin Egg | London, England | 10/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I took a bit of a risk when I bought this. I heard Fats perform Ain't Misbehavin' on the radio and knew that I had to have it. Familiar with his name but not with his music, I came with an open mind. Boy, was my mind blown wide open. Twenty tracks and nineteen of them bewitching.
There are basically five Fats Wallers. There is the distinguished composer; the brilliant pianist; the great bandleader; the endearing singer, and the incomparable interpreter of the popular song. In each of these five categories, he excels. Just listen to his solo version of Tea for Two, or his own composition, Viper's Drag, and you realise that he ranks alongside jazz music's greatest piano players, from Eubie Blake to Thelonious Monk. I hung on to every note. The man had magic in his fingers.
The songs are divided between his solo work and his own band, Fats Waller & his Rhythm, a two-horn sextet. The sextet is excellent. They could swing with the best of them and the solos are lovely. Check out Herman Autrey's lengthy trumpet solo (beautifully underpinned by Fats' own tinkling of the ivories) that introduces Hoagy Carmichael's, Two Sleepy People. Like all great band leaders, - Morton, Ellington, Mingus - he had a keen ear for talented musicians and by creating the right musical setting, brought out their full potential. What's the betting musicians that played with Fats never again achieved the heights that they achieved with him?
His writing was excellent, too, and he excelled both in the field of popular song, such as I'm Crazy About My Baby, and in jazz composition, such as Handful of Keys.
His voice and phrasing was attractive and perfectly suited to humorous songs, and Fats was a great humorist, the Ian Dury of his day. He could also add real poignancy to bitter sweet love songs. I doubt if Hoagy Carmichael's Two Sleepy People has ever been sung with quite such easy-going sincerity.
So there you have it: five good reasons for purchasing this CD. The one track I didn't like? - The Jitterbug Waltz. Fats' Hammond organ playing failed to float my boat, I'm afraid.
A word on the packaging. Excellent. The sleeve notes by Scott Yanow are concise but informative. [The curse of jazz fans, along with Ornette Coleman, is windy sleeve notes that say nothing in particular.] The informative listing and track information is neatly laid out and easy on the eye. Also, the font is large enough so you don't need binoculars to read the words. Even the cover is tastefully done. Naxos deserve full credit for this CD."
THIS Joint is Jumpin'!
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 06/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Naxos label seems to be in the process of reissuing lots, perhaps all, of Fats Waller's commercial recordings. This one is a collection of favorites recorded between 1929 ('A Handful of Keys') and 1942 ('The Jitterbug Waltz') which are presented more or less in the order in which they were recorded. Included are such favorites as 'Ain't Misbehavin',' 'Honeysuckle Rose,' 'Your Feet's Too Big,' and 'Georgia on My Mind.' There is a version of 'Tea for Two' that I'd never heard before and which contains some of the most inventive harmonies and an infectiously unpredictable variation of tempi that I kept playing again and again in order to get a grasp on. Wonderful! 'This Joint is Jumpin',' recorded in 1937, is interrupted by a 'raid' by the police blowing their whistles and people 'cutting a rug' to get out of the place. Hilariously enacted by Waller and his band. If ever there was a performer who conveyed high good spirits any better than Waller, I don't know who it was. It was a huge loss when he died if pneumonia in the train station in Kansas City in late 1943. This collection, in wonderful sound for the period, will assuredly make you tap your feet and perhaps even get up and dance a few steps. It will definitely put you in a good mood.Scott Morrison"