Fats Waller's rarest recordings
JEAN-MARIE JUIF | BESANCON France | 09/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When Fats recorded these tunes on November 20,1939,he was at the peak of his popularity; Fats was one of the greatest masters of the piano, following James P.Johnson traces,and surely one of the most recorded jazz artists of the thirties.These recordings,destinated to radio broadcasts,are very unusual in Fats' carreer : most of the material has never been recorded by him,except "when you and I were young,Maggie" (radio broadcast from the Hotel Sherman,December 1940) or "deep river" (the London sessions).Fats is alone on all tracks,playing piano or organ,and singing as well as ever.His mastery of stride explodes on each tune,scpecially on "when you and I...","Oh Susannah",in which his piano chorus succeeding the first vocal is a real treasury of swing, or "Annie Laurie"."The old aoken bucket" is a more introspective piece,with a lovely piano introduction.These piano pieces can be stunning,because Fats plays in a more relaxed,introspective mood than on many of his recordings.Then,there is a great serie of gospels played on Hammond organ,an instrument Fats definetely mastered better than anyone else.For me, his absolute masterpiece on this instrument is an outstanding version of "sometimes I feel like a motherless child" included in his "V discs";however,this set includes great performances like "hang me down my walking cane","deep river","swing low,sweet chariot", or "go down,Moses".More than an interesting part of Fats Waller's immense discography,this record is essential in his carreer,and essential in the history of jazz."
B. D. Tutt | London, UK. | 08/26/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"These recordings are amongst the least known of Waller's maturity. Recorded in November 1939 for Langworth Transcription Discs, they were intended as material for radio broadcast rather than for public release. All feature Waller solo, singing with accompanying himself at piano (tracks 1 - 5, 14 - 16) or organ.The material is untypical of Waller's recordings - a combination of traditional songs, spirituals and two swung versions of classical pieces. Waller is in good form, particularly at the piano, with "Oh Dem Golden Slippers" and "Loch Lomond" especially effective. The classical tracks are attractive enough, but can't compare with the passionate stride transformations of Donald Lambert.Waller's organ playing swings more than most jazz organists, but is still an acquired taste.This is a valuable re-issue, and demonstrates a facet of Waller to explored in the better known RCA Rhythm sides. The 1935 radio transcriptions on the Stash label are more essential, but these are entertaining performances."