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6266Re: shopworn sentimentalism (was Bob Fuller musicians and recording)

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  • Tommer
    Sep 4, 2008
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      --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Bob Mates <bluesbob@...> wrote:
      > Hi, Dave: You have a good point: perhaps, Fats was a victim of
      > his own persona; had to live up to his image. When that happens,
      > you try to be funny. Of course, when you try, you usually
      > aren't.
      > This whole area of discussion about artists, trapped by their
      > public persona, is an interesting one. Nadine Kohodas, in her
      > biography of Dinah Washington, says that, in her later years,
      > (seems funny to write that phrase, since Dinah died at age 38),
      > she tried to live up to her nickname, "the queen". It changed
      > her personality, and it made her spend so much money, that when
      > she died, she was deep in debt. As for Fats, I've read that, by
      > the end of his life, he was getting tired of the grind of
      > touring. Perhaps, if he'd lived, he would have devoted more time
      > to writing Broadway shows, which he really enjoyed. Perhaps,
      > too, as the musical tastes had changed, he wouldn't have been
      > expected to be funny all of the time, and you would have heard a
      > lot of different stuff.

      Interesting reading. I do believe that being funny is not a choice
      anyone can make, it is a gift, and I also believe Fats Waller wanted
      to make other people happy, and so was his music. IMO Fats Waller
      wanted to be grouped with artists like James Johnson and Art Tatum
      and not Teddy Wilson, but many would place him there, only when
      seriously thinking about him the connection to the first group is
      more understood. Pannasie and Schuller both had winding ways to deal
      with this situation, I might later try to excerpt but the reason I
      wanted to reply is because an article by John S. Wilson
      titled 'Thomas "Fats" Waller':
      <<<<begin excerpt:
      Both Fats Waller and his principal tutor, James P. Johnson, lived
      lives of aching frustrations. Johnson ached openly because he could
      find no audience for his serious compositions, but Waller's desire to
      find acceptance as a serious musician was burried under a heavy
      coating of pervasive geniality.


      Gene Sedric, the saxophonist and clarinettist in Fats's little band
      from 1938 to 1943, remembers times when Waller was so full of his
      feeling for serious music that he couldn't help playing, even in a
      nightclub, with all the musicality of which he was capable. But this
      wasn't the Fats that the customers had paid to hear. 'people in the
      audience would think he was lying down', Sedric says.b 'They'd
      yell, "Come on Fats!". He'd take a swig of gin or something and say
      resignedly,"Aw right, here it is"'
      <<<<<<<<end excerpt

      The article certainly leaves space for imagination, but still it
      seems in the right spirit.

      There are more details on the article which is too long to quote, for
      instance about Fats attitude at the organ differently from the piano.
      I have this article on "Reading Jazz"/ selected writings of several
      writers edited by Robert Gotllieb and it is written "Also from
      Shapiro and Hentoff's The Jazz Makers"

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