Last weekend a film was posted over at Pass The Popcorn Please.That film, Tin Pan Alley Cats, -which depicts Fats Waller as a cartoon cat-got me to thinkin' that I should briefly resurrect my old series to pay homage to this great artist.
Thomas Wright Waller (May 21, 1904 - December 15, 1943) was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer and comedic entertainer.
Waller was one of the most popular performers of his era. His songs have become standards of the jazz repertoire.
Fats wrote many songs, among them are "Squeeze Me" (1919), "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now", "Ain't Misbehavin'" (1929), "Blue Turning Grey Over You", "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling" (1929), "Honeysuckle Rose" (1929), and "Jitterbug Waltz" (1942). He collaborated with the Tin Pan Alley lyricist Andy Razaf.
Waller also composed stride piano display pieces such as "Handful of Keys", "Valentine Stomp" and "Viper's Drag."
In addition to his virtuosic playing, Waller was known for his many quips during his performances, including:- "One never knows, do one?" ... "No lady, we can't haul your ashes for 25 cents, that's bad business" ... "Mercy!" ... "Well, all right then!" ... "I wonder what the poor people are doing - I'd love to be doing it with them!" ... "Run in and stab me, but don't bruise me!" ... "Wot's da matta wit DAT?!" ... and - of a large lady vocalist - "All that meat and no potatoes!"
The last few years of Waller's life involved frequent recordings and extensive tours of the USA. In early 1943, he returned to Hollywood to make the film Stormy Weather with Lena Horne and Bill Robinson, in which he led an all-star band including Benny Carter and Zutty Singleton.
Fats contracted pneumonia and died on a cross-country train trip near Kansas City, Missouri on December 15, 1943. His ashes were flown and spread over Harlem by the famous World War I aviator known as "The Black Ace".
In the player below; 18th Street Stomp (1926), Baby, Oh Where Can You Be (1929), Blue Black Bottom (1926), Loveless Love (1926), Numb fumbling (1929), Savannah Blues (1926), The Digah's Stomp (Pipe Organ Solo) (1927), Valentine stomp (1929), You Rascal, You! (1929)