By Alyn Shipton
Fat Waller (1904-1943) used to be an outsize guy in all respects: 5 toes 11 inches tall, he weighed 285 kilos. He used to be the best of the Harlem "stride" pianists, he composed hundreds of thousands of songs, he led a band which revamped four hundred recordings and he wrote numerous Broadway indicates. Waller is visible by means of jazz historians as a guy of titanic musical expertise which was once by no means fulfilled, within the pursuits of his profession as a well-liked and funny entertainer. during this absolutely revised and up to date biography of Waller, Alyn Shipton re-examines his occupation, arguing that his skills as a songwriter, convey composer and amazing recording and broadcasting artist haven't been absolutely liked. a brand new ultimate bankruptcy, presents a finished survey of Waller's recordings as they've been reissued for the CD period.
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Extra info for Fats Waller: The Cheerful Little Earful
The songs that Fats wrote for the 1926 Lafayette show, Tan Town Topics, included the hit Senorita Mine. A number of other songs copyrighted that year by various permutations of the same team of Waller, Eddie Rector, and Spencer and Clarence Williams probably also emanate from Fats's stage work. These include Charleston Hound, That Struttin Eddie of Mine, Crazy 'hout That Man I Love, Old Folks Shuffle, and Midnight Stomp. The exact chronology and content of Tan Town Topics is obscure, but it is known that Fats wrote the score for a second show in 1926, which was called Junior Blackbirds in imitation of the Lew Leslie hit Blackbirds of 1926.
And the Earle in Philadelphia. Danny Barker recalled touring these houses during the mid-1930s with the Mills Blue Rhythm Orchestra under Lucky Millinder. Irving Mills typified the kind of promoter with whom the theater managements set their rates and coordinated the booking of their acts. Mills beat them at their own game. If they wanted Duke Ellington, that would be fine, but in order to have Duke in two, maybe three, months' time, well, they'd just have to book Lucky Millinder and the Blue Rhythm Orchestra round the entire circuit this month.
Indeed, there are plenty of not too apocryphal stories of floorshows put on by black singers and dancers in front of white club audiences being performed again the same evening in African-American or mixed theaters for black audiences. Fats's own show Hot Chocolates became one of these. The chronology of Waller's involvement with the stage is THE MUSICAL THEATER 27 Garvin Bushell (right) with Gene Sedric: two of Waller's reedmen together. confused. But if his career as a theater organist is discounted, then we can reckon that his tour with Liza and her Shufflin' Six marks his debut as a vaudeville accompanist.