Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Middle Years 1 (1936-38)
Genres: Jazz, Pop
While the swing era has been strongly identified with big bands, few musicians of the period enjoyed the success of Fats Waller, who spent most of the period happily leading a sextet. While Waller's popularity was inevitab... more »
While the swing era has been strongly identified with big bands, few musicians of the period enjoyed the success of Fats Waller, who spent most of the period happily leading a sextet. While Waller's popularity was inevitably tied to his casual vocals and the scale of his personality--his verbal humor can become a running commentary on an instrumental--Waller was one of the greatest pianists who ever played jazz. Part of a comprehensive series of Waller's band recordings for RCA, this three-CD set covers his work from December 1936 to April 1938. As with every volume in the series, there's a mix of novelty vocals, sentimental ballads, and superior pop songs. What distinguishes all of it is the genius of the Waller piano, from animated stride to the most thoughtful chord, all of it delivered with a lightness of touch that inspired pianists like Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson. In the spirit of the times, Waller expanded "His Rhythm" to a 14-piece band for the final session, which includes rousing versions of "Sheik of Araby" and Duke Ellington's "Skrontch." --Stuart Broomer
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The Essential Fats Waller
Bob Marshak | Tempe, Arizona | 12/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 3 CD boxed set contains 70 selections, played and sung by Thomas "Fats" Waller, backed up by some of the finest jazz muscians of the 1930's. Originally recorded from December 1936, to April 1938, Fats and his jazz bands, keep your fingers snapping and toes tapping with his signature renditions of songs written by such American icons as Irving Berlin, Guy Lombardo, James McHugh, and Johnny Mercer, as well as his own compositions, written and arranged with the help of his long-time partner, Andy Razaf. His keyboard stylings are unique as are the comments he injects into the lyrics. His instrumental version of "The Love Bug Will Get You (If You Don't Watch Out) will have you dancing in no time flat. He makes a jazz masterpiece out of Berlin's "Marie". For those of you who think Fats Waller is famous only for his Ain't Misbehavin' musical, this CD will show that he was truly a musical genius of the first order."
More fine jazz from Fats
L. A. Grider | Arkansas | 07/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Middle Years Part One sees essentially the same cats coming back from earlier volumes on the record dates, with the exception of some "big band" sides where "His Rhythm" gets fleshed out. Most of the songs are original compositions and it makes me wonder "when the hell did this guy sleep?"
It's too bad these sets went out of print, but thankfully they're still available at a usually reasonable price in good condition. I'm working towards collecting them all. I have a radio show on local community FM, specializing in all kinds of classic American music and Fats always gets a call of appreciation. In a modern music scene full of flash in the pan, photogenic 1-D "artists", I treat the music of Fats and folks like him as manna from music heaven."