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Fun With Fats

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Album Review

Millions of devoted Fats Waller fans agree that having access to even one little budget compilation filled with this man's uplifting music is infinitely preferable to having no Waller whatsoever. Released in 1992, Charly's Fun with Fats is a chronologically stacked mini-history of Waller's works, beginning with his Harlem stride piano masterpiece "Handful of Keys" (recorded March 1, 1929), sampling some of his funniest and solidest swing sides from the mid- and late '30s, then capping it off with a very funny "Hey! Stop Kissin' My Sister" (July 16, 1940) and that gastronomic anthem "All That Meat and No Potatoes" (March 20, 1941). Fun with Fats will work as an ideal introduction to Thomas Waller (hopefully inciting listeners to explore the hundreds of records he made between the years 1922 and 1943) and as a dependable dosage of solid swing to be kept on hand as emergency rations.


Born: 21 May 1904 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s

Not only was Fats Waller one of the greatest pianists jazz has ever known, he was also one of its most exuberantly funny entertainers -- and as so often happens, one facet tends to obscure the other. His extraordinarily light and flexible touch belied his ample physical girth; he could swing as hard as any pianist alive or dead in his classic James P. Johnson-derived stride manner, with a powerful left hand delivering the octaves and tenths in a tireless, rapid, seamless stream. Waller also pioneered...
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