Search - Fats Waller :: Handful of Keys

Handful of Keys
Fats Waller
Handful of Keys
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #1

Dizzy Gillespie claimed that "Fats could eat up a piano"--one of the clearest expressions of the great Waller's talent ever uttered by another master. But what's frustrating for all pianists about Waller was said by Fats h...  more »


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All Artists: Fats Waller
Title: Handful of Keys
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Buddha
Original Release Date: 4/27/1999
Release Date: 4/27/1999
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Swing Jazz, Traditional Jazz & Ragtime, Jive Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 744659960321

Dizzy Gillespie claimed that "Fats could eat up a piano"--one of the clearest expressions of the great Waller's talent ever uttered by another master. But what's frustrating for all pianists about Waller was said by Fats himself in the middle of a vast piano solo that sounded as if he had four hands and two pianos going at once: "It's so easy when you knows how!" To add credence, the great Art Tatum declared "Fats ... that's where we all came from." To add credence listeners can experience, it's difficult to find a musician who cut as many records as Waller did in his short life of 39 years. Handful of Keys boasts previously unrecorded selections like "Stop Beatin' 'Round The Mulberry Bush," "My Best Wishes," and "What's the Matter with You," all of them masterfully performed. The biggest surprise here is "St. Louis Blues" done as a solo, in contrast to the early duet in March 1930 with Bennie Payne, then a member of Cab Calloway's orchestra. The solo version can render you unconscious because of both its stride and its luminous optimism. Fats's stride piano invokes a stomp and howl at (or with) anyone who can play so much piano and transmit such happiness through the music alone. The clever asides and burlesques of the rather simple-minded numbers RCA Victor forced him to record, of course, add to the hilarity, but the stupefyingly glorious wonder of Waller's technique and imagination are joyous. Handful of Keys is a keeper for all fans, be they Traditional, Bop, R&B, Rock, or whatever the present state of Jazz connotes. Fats is the cat who gave us many of the foundation stones of all jazz. --Daniel Bartlett Jr.

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CD Reviews

Well..ALL RIGHT!! A super representation of Fats Waller!
Robert G. Martinez | Brooksville FL | 07/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've owned the RCA sets The Early Years, Middle Years, but this is one of the best compilations spanning his entire career in one set. I'm partial to his earlier period (1934-36) but this set covers his career from real early 1922 solos to his untimely death in 1943, but its all good. Fats Waller was one of the greatest jazz pianists in history. His carefree singing and tickling the ivories always make me feel better. When I'm stressed out...I put a little bit of his music on my player..and all of a sudden..everything's OK again. The only knock on this wonderful set is that they did not include the original 1934 version of the instrumental (There are many in this set which speak of his piano prowess) Clothes Line Ballet, one of his most beautiful. Instead, they included a radio transcription from 1935 that sounds more like a radio comedy antic than the 1934 original. I believe that master cut has been ruined because on "Turn On The Heat" on RCA, it audibly shows that cut to be warped. All in all, if you're new or old to Fats, this is a satisfying box set. The enclosed booket is excellent with many pics, record dates, personnel and stories about Mr. Waller, who remains to this day, a giant in jazz. "Oooo....your lower extremeties are really obnoxious" (Your Feet's Too Big) Great job from Proper Records, as usual."
The Harlem stride of Thomas Wright Waller
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 05/19/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Despite hundreds of pop recordings, piano rolls, concerts and broadcasts, Thomas 'Fats' Waller never strayed far from his musical roots. His private passions from boyhood were classical music and church organ. Privately and for intimate groups, Waller often played this very sort of music he that felt the public would never accept. Yet, as Thomas Waller approached his 40th year, there was serious contemplation of moving beyond pop song covers and small band performances of his own tunes to compose more traditional works. These plans ended with Waller's December 12th 1943 death from pneumonic complications. At the time of his passing, Fats was five months short of reaching 40.

On RCA Victor's 1957 black label release, HANDFUL OF KEYS (LPM-1502), Fats vocalizes on 14 tracks and plays solo on two. Accompanying musicians on the quintet, sextet and septet recordings are (alphabetically): Herman Autry (thumpet); Arnold Bolden (drums); Al Casey (guitar); Bill Coleman (trumpet); Harry Dial (drums); Chauncey Graham (tenor); John Hamilton (trumpet); Larry Hinton (drums); Slick Jones (drums); Mezz Mezzrow (clarinet); Floyd O'Brien (trombone); Rudy Powell (clarinet & alto); Gene Sedric (clarinet & tenor); John Smith (guitar); Bill Taylor (bass); Arthur Trappier (drums); Charles Turner (bass); Cedric Wallace (bass).


[2:36] I'll Dance at Your Wedding - (12/7/38)
[3:12] Original E Flat Blues - (7/16/40)
[2:49] I Just Made Up with That Old Girl of Mine - (8/1/36)
[2:30] You're Laughing at Me - (2/22/37)
[3:07] Ring Dem Bells (piano solo) - (5/13/41)
[3:14] Up Jumped You with Love - (7/13/42)
[3:25] Our Love Was Meant to Be - (9/7/37)
[3:10] You Went to My Head - (3/11/38)

[2:48] Christopher Columbus - (4/8/36)
[2:45] How Can You Face Me - (9/28/34)
[2:56] Dream Man (Make Me Dream Some More) - (11/7/34)
[2:46] What's the Reason (I'm Not Pleasin' You) - (3/6/35)
[3:27] Sweet and Low - (5/8/35)
[2:44] Handful of Keys (piano solo) - (3/1/29)
[2:46] I Used to Love You (But It's All Over Now) - (6/28/39)
[3:04] There'll Be Some Changes Made - (6/24/35)

TOTAL TIME: 47:19"
A piano essential
Maria Mercado | Austin, TX USA | 01/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fats Waller was unique in that he he didn't take himself or his obvious talent too seriously. You can hear that he's having fun in every song. No jazz piano collection is complete without some Fats Waller!"