Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fats Waller - Piano solo (1927-1939)

Thomas "Fats" Waller was the first jazz organist. He also helped to develop and establish the style of music commonly known as swing; was possessed of an outrageous sense of humor; sang however the hell he felt like singing, and made a point of cutting up whenever possible, particularly when he had to navigate a seemingly endless stream of Tin Pan Alley lyrics. All of his traits and accomplishments sometimes seem to obscure what is perhaps the most important and enduring aspect of Fats Waller -- he was a gifted and powerfully expressive pianist who learned his craft from the originators of the Harlem stride style: James P. Johnson, Willie "The Lion" Smith and Luckey Roberts. Seldom have Waller's major piano solos been made available en masse to the public for any length of time. These three-minute nougats of wordless wonderment popped up between clusters of ensemble and vocal tracks during the LP era, adding significant depth to the RCA Victor Vintage series in particular. A 1977 Bluebird.double LP (containing 33 selections) presented most of the master takes recorded between 1929 and 1941, and a follow-up Bluebird double CD (40 selections) appeared in 1991 bearing the title Turn on the Heat. Both of these compilations disappeared after awhile, leaving the public to search through chronologies and compilations or to remain altogether ignorant of Waller's pianistic prowess. Definitive's 2006 double-CD reissue of the Complete Victor Piano Solos (with a whopping 52 selections) is the best compilation of its kind. The producers responsible for this package deserve highest praise for having assembled these precious recordings in an unprecedented chronological compendium. Beginning with the gutsy 1927 stomp "Blue Black Bottom" (which did not make it onto the 1977 LP two-fer), this edition omits Waller's two very first recordings, a pair of piano solos cut for the Okeh label in October of 1922. It does include all of the significant Victor solos with six alternate takes, and surpasses Turn on the Heat by dealing in the six-movement "London Suite" and six exquisite lesser-known radio transcriptions, including a gorgeous three-minute rumination on a theme from Faust, Charles Gounod's opera of 1859. These solos represent and reveal the very heart of Waller, and a significant portion of the collective soul of all humanity. If there were to be one Fats Waller album, or one jazz album, or one of a handful of sound recordings to speak for the world, this is it. It's that important, it's that beautiful, it's that essential. Honest to goodness.
arwulf arwulf
Source :

Fats Waller
Complete Victor Piano Solos


Cd. 1

1 Blue Black Bottom (Jackson, Waller) 2:54
2 Handful of Keys (Waller) 2:48
3 Numb Fumblin' (Waller) 2:52
4 Ain't Misbehavin' (Brooks, Razaf, Waller) 3:03
5 Sweet Savannah Sue (Brooks, Razaf, Waller) 3:03
6 I've Got the Feeling I'm Falling [Take 2] (Link, Rose, Waller) 2:51
7 I've Got the Feeling I'm Falling [Take 3] (Link, Rose, Waller) 3:00
8 Love Me or Leave Me [Take 1] (Donaldson, Kahn) 2:49
9 Love Me or Leave Me [Take 2] (Donaldson, Kahn) 2:40
10 Gladyse [Take 1] (Waller) 2:55
11 Gladyse [Take 2] (Waller) 2:56
12 Valentine Stomp [Take 1] (Waller) 3:15
13 Valentine Stomp [Take 2] (Waller) 3:25
14 Waiting at the End of the Road [Take 1] (Berlin) 3:26
15 Waiting at the End of the Road [Take 2] (Berlin) 3:22
16 Baby, Oh Where Can You Be ? [Take 1] (Koehler, Magine) 3:16
17 Baby, Oh Where Can You Be ? [Take 2] (Koehler, Magine) 3:18
18 Goin' About [Take 1] (Waller) 3:18
19 Goin' About [Take 2] (Waller) 3:13
20 My Feelings Are Hurt (Waller) 3:04
21 Smashing Thirds (Waller) 3:07
22 My Fate Is in Your Hands (Razaf, Waller) 2:41
23 Turn on the Heat (Brown, DeSylva, Henderson) 2:26
24 St. Louis Blues (Handy) 3:03
25 After You've Gone (Creamer, Layton) 3:26
26 African Ripples (Waller) 3:08

Cd. 2

1 Clothes Line Ballet (Waller) 2:59
2 Alligator Crawl (Waller) 2:42
3 Viper's Drag (Waller) 2:58
4 Keepin' Out of Mischief Now (Waller) 3:11
5 Stardust (Carmichael, Parish) 3:14
6 Basin Street Blues (Williams) 2:33
7 Tea for Two (Caesar, Youmans) 3:21
8 I Ain't Got Nobody (Graham, Williams) 3:09
9 Georgia on My Mind (Carmichael, Gorell) 3:02
10 Rockin' Chair (Carmichael) 3:07
11 Carolina Shout [Take 1] (Johnson) 2:38
12 Carolina Shout [Take 2] (Johnson) 2:20
13 Honeysuckle Rose (Razaf, Waller) 3:24
14 Ring dem Bells (Ellington, Mills) 3:11
15 London Suite I: Piccadilly (Waller) 1:43
16 London Suite II: Chelsea (Waller) 2:46
17 London Suite III: Soho (Waller) 2:55
18 London Suite IV : Bond Street (Waller) 2:49
19 London Suite V : Limehouse (Waller) 3:15
20 London Suite VI : Whitechapel (Waller) 3:14
21 Poor Butterfly (Godlen, Hubbell) 3:34
22 Saint Louis Blues (Handy) 2:51
23 Hallelujah (Grey, Robin, Youmans) 3:11
24 Tea for Two (Caesar, Youmans) 4:06
25 A Handful of Keys (Waller) 2:50
26 Swaltzing with Faust (Gounod) 3:00

Fats Waller - p
Benny Payne - p [cd. 1, # 24-25]
Max Levin - dr [cd. 2, # 18]

Recorded between February 16, 1927 & November 29, 1939

See the complete artwork


Melanchthon said...

Stagalicious said...

Awesome share! Thanks!

MARIO said...

Thanks but there s some trouble with the rar files.

FrankDell said...

Great stuff. Fats displaying true artistry. Merci, Mel.

FrankDell said...

Mario, not RAR.

Anonymous said...

But the pw?

Kovina Kris said...

A truly awesome post of important music that I'm very glad to have a chance to hear. Thank you very much Mel!

Peter said...

Grrrreat! Thanks!

Mario - top of blog

jazztap said...


rm said...

thank you very much.
btw the latest (and my favorite) session is from May 13, 1941, not 1939 (CD2 t9-14)

@gilangnp said...

Could you please update with a new link?

Mark said...

I second that new link request... thanks

Anonymous said...

I would appreciate if you could update the link.
Thanks, Luis