Fats Waller
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Harlem native Thomas "Fats" Waller (1904) completed the fusion of blues, ragtime and stride piano while also inaugurating a jazz style at the organ. His compositions of the 1920s, that constitute a synthesis of all the (secular and religious, white and black) musical styles he heard while growing up in Harlem, made him the most famous of the jazz pianists: the piano roll of Spencer Williams' Got to Cool My Doggies Now (march 1923), Clarence Williams' Squeeze Me (february 1926), Messin' Around With The Blues Blue (january 1927), The Whiteman Stomp (may 1927), Soothin' Syrup Stomp (january 1927), the Broadway musical Connie's Hot Chocolates (1929), that included Ain't Misbehavin' and the protest song Black And Blue (both hits for their performer, Louis Armstrong), his canonical piano solo Handful Of Keys (march 1929), Valentine Stomp (august 1929), I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling (august 1929), Smashing Thirds (september 1929), still reminiscent of ragtime, Blue Turning Grey Over You (published in 1930). During the Great Depression he composed other conventional ballads such as Honeysuckle Rose (november 1934) with the studio band The Rhythm and Keepin' Out Of Mischief (june 1937), besides The Joint Is Jumping (december 1937) and the celebrated Jitterbug Waltz (march 1942) with an orchestra, although some of his biggest hits were no longer his own compositions, such as Harry Warren's Lulu's Back in Town (may 1935) and Fred Ahlert's I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter (may 1935). But he also continued to craft austere solo compositions/performances, such as the ragtime African Ripples (march 1935), the mini-suite Clothes Line Ballet (march 1935), and the London Suite (june 1939), whose six movements borrowed from a broad range of exotic, classical and jazz styles. He was one of the most prolific and "poppiest" composers of early jazz.

He died in 1943.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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