FATS WALLER and his MUSIC - A Tribute by Geoff Cole and his Hot Five
This is one of Big Bill's own projects and the band were very enthusiastic in their approach to it. They all loved the music and enjoyed playing it - but had to alter their personal playing styles in order to do the music justice! The 17 tracks were recorded by Dave Bennett in February 1999 and they all roar along swimmingly - so sit back and enjoy!
The personnel here are Geoff Cole trombone and vocals, Tony Pyke reeds, Pat Hawes piano, Ken Matthews string bass and Colin Miller drums.
The Minor Drag
Curse of An Aching Heart
Cabin in the Sky
What's the Reason?
LuLu's Back In Town
Black and Blue
I Used to Love You
Two Sleepy People
Your Feet's Too Big
Yacht Club Swing
Music Maestro Please
Oh Looka There, Ain't She Pretty?
Total Running Time 72.00
Reviews of This Recording
Thomas Wright Waller, known to the world as 'Fats' Waller', was one of the foremost practitioners of stride piano. As well as being a fine jazz pianist and, occasionally, organist, he was also a prolific composer with more than four hundred songs copyrighted under his name as composer or collaborator, often with Andy Razaf having written the lyrics. Many others were most likely never attributed to him as stories are legion about Fats giving songs away, sometimes for a few hamburgers.
So for Cole and company the question of what to include or allude to in a tribute to this giant is one that they had to consider, and they seem to have found a happy medium by way of an answer. Wisely they eschew a pastiche, although they do adhere to the group size of Waller’s Rhythm. The piano, however, is not front and center here, as it is with Waller’s groups. As to the vocals that one always associates with Waller, the two musicians who sing on this CD (only on five of the fifteen tracks) do not seem intent on imitating Waller. Of the two perhaps Hawes comes closest to sounding like Fats, particularly on Your Feet’s Too Big.
It was something of a tragedy that Waller died of pneumonia at the early age of 39 on December 15, 1943 while travelling by train from California to New York. Despite his rather short life, he left a substantial body of work, and Cole and friends present us with some of the highlights of that oeuvre as a reminder and as a fitting tribute. It is good to have this reissue of this recording (the initial one titled One Never Knows – Do One?) available again. One can once more savor the Cole group’s excellent interpretations and be reminded of what a treasure Waller was.