A Ton o' Fats
May 21, 2004 4:49 AM   Subscribe

Thomas Wright Waller would have been one hundred today! The web is filled with brief profiles, even Ken Burns has got in on the act and laid his deathly touch on him. Luckily there are some sites with a little more meat, a nice article from The Atlantic, streaming audio so you can hear some of his music, pictures, an explanation of stride piano (.au) by Billy Taylor, and a nice piece from Weekend Edition. Happy birthday Fats!
posted by Quinbus Flestrin (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Very nice first post, Quinbus! I'm still looking at everything--lots of good info., but thanks esp. for the streaming audio. I'm no expert, but I know what I like and I like Fats.
posted by lobakgo at 8:59 AM on May 21, 2004

One of my favorite composers and performers. Thanks, Quinbus!
posted by Daddio at 9:24 AM on May 21, 2004

Something I always think about is Fats Waller's little ejaculations before, during and after songs, how he'd go "Yas oh yas," "That's right," and sorts of other things, and how Bob Wills (of Texas Playboys fame) stole that amusing affectation and put it into every single song he ever recorded in his whole life to the point where it became totally obnoxious, and blights the entire Wills catalogue. The other thing I think about is how mightly Waller's genius was, and how his solo piano recordings are powerful and imaginative as any in jazz, including those of James Johnson and Art Tatum. The culture cast him as a clown, but that's okay, I think we still got the best of his genius.
posted by Faze at 1:53 PM on May 21, 2004

Great post, Quinbus! And Faze, "...blights the entire Wills catalogue."?!? Surely that's an overstatement, no?
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:20 PM on May 21, 2004

Yeah, you'll pry my "Take Me Back to Tulsa" and "San Antonio Rose" out of my cold dead hands. You don't have to diss Bob Wills in order to celebrate the immortal Fats.

And: Great post, QF!
posted by languagehat at 5:52 PM on May 21, 2004

Languagehat: exaaaaactly!
posted by .kobayashi. at 12:34 PM on May 22, 2004

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