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Re: [RedHotJazz] shopworn sentimentalism (was Bob Fuller musicians and recording)

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  • Bob Mates
    I certainly don t know French, but I do know that a strong point of Fats s sing was to take the inane, overly-sentimental lyrics to a song, and, by over-doing
    Message 1 of 23 , Sep 2, 2008
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      I certainly don't know French, but I do know that a strong point
      of Fats's sing was to take the inane, overly-sentimental lyrics
      to a song, and, by over-doing them, satirize them. You laughed,
      both at his vocal antics, and at the lyrics, because they were
      made to sound more ridiculous, as he made fun of them. Bob
    • David Brown
      I love Fats but he demeaned the great songs along with the dross. Compare with, for instance, Billie who enhanced the dross as well as the great songs. Or with
      Message 2 of 23 , Sep 3, 2008
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        I love Fats but he demeaned the great songs along with the dross. Compare
        with, for instance, Billie who enhanced the dross as well as the great
        songs. Or with Louis who delivered the utmost dross with such sincerity you
        believe it -- almost.

        I think Waller's legacy would be even greater had he respected more both his
        material and his own ability to transcend it.

        Dave



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      • Bob Mates
        It just goes to prove that, more than any other form of music, jazz is an outgrowth of the performer s personality. Billie s songs were full of emotion,
        Message 3 of 23 , Sep 3, 2008
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          It just goes to prove that, more than any other form of music,
          jazz is an outgrowth of the performer's personality. Billie's
          songs were full of emotion, because her whole life was that way.
          Her love songs were kind of her cry for love. Louis loved the
          schmultzy stuff; making you believe it was part of the
          performance. From what I've read about Fats, he didn't really
          take any music very seriously, except church music and classical
          music. Everything else was fair game. Some say he took away
          from his ability, but I don't know. I think he pulled you in
          with the humor, and then, when you were hooked, made you realize
          what a truly great performer and musician he was. Remember: he
          wasn't playing for the purists, but for the public. I had a lot
          of Fats stuff on vinyl, but it's back in Pittsburgh. Someday, I
          hope to get it up here, to Grand Rapids. Take care, everyone.
          Bob
        • Tommer
          ... 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
          Message 4 of 23 , 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"

            Tommer
          • Bob Mates
            Well, it just goes back to what I said before. Obviously, Fats would have wanted to play serious music, but that s not what the public wanted, and, after
            Message 5 of 23 , Sep 5, 2008
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              Well, it just goes back to what I said before. Obviously, Fats
              would have wanted to play "serious" music, but that's not what
              the public wanted, and, after all they're the ones who paid him.
              One could even bring racism into the discussion, because many
              people figured that black folks were supposed to be happy, happy,
              happy. By the way, while briefly on the subject of racism, it's
              interesting and very sad to note that many of the jazz clubs, who
              regularly hired black jazz musicians, wouldn't allow them to
              patronize with the white customers. Apparently, George Brunies,
              the trombonist, was an absolute out-and-out racist. I wonder
              where he thought the music he loved to play came from. Back to
              Fats: Fats's organ playing was much more serious than was a lot
              of his piano playing. I think "Jitterbug Waltz" was ahead of its
              time. Of course, if it's serious playing you're looking for,
              listen to "London Suite".
              Just briefly, it occurs to me that, if you believe the 1890 birth
              date for Jelly Roll, you're going to have to scramble and come up
              with a lot of new dates for his compositions.
              Sorry to make a long post like this. Take care, everyone. Bob
            • Tommer
              ... Louis Armstrong was surfacing always happy, smiling, laughing, and also, Louis didn t care to abandon hot music and become sweeter with the times going by.
              Message 6 of 23 , Sep 6, 2008
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                --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Bob Mates <bluesbob@...> wrote:
                >
                > One could even bring racism into the discussion, because many
                > people figured that black folks were supposed to be happy, happy,
                > happy. By the way, while briefly on the subject of racism, it's
                > interesting and very sad to note that many of the jazz clubs, who
                > regularly hired black jazz musicians, wouldn't allow them to
                > patronize with the white customers.

                Louis Armstrong was surfacing always happy, smiling, laughing, and
                also, Louis didn't care to abandon hot music and become sweeter with
                the times going by. But Louis Armstrong will forever be a great
                musician. Was Fats Waller was influenced by Armstrong's charisma,
                (and not just the singing style)?

                Bob, what does it mean to patronize with the white customers?

                I also wonder whether there were "uncle tom" accusations against Fats
                Waller. There were such at Louis Armstrong.
                Tommer
              • Bob Mates
                It meant that many clubs wouldn t let their black musicians sit and have a drink with the white customers. They weren t allowed to mix with the customers at
                Message 7 of 23 , Sep 6, 2008
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                  It meant that many clubs wouldn't let their black musicians sit
                  and have a drink with the white customers. They weren't allowed
                  to mix with the customers at all. I'm not aware of any "uncle
                  tom" accusations against Fats. Those charges were levelled again
                  Louis Armstrong, because he wouldn't participate in civil rights
                  demonstrations. This was long after Fats was dead. Bob
                • Tommer
                  ... Bob, sure the movement of the 1950 s that was the beginning of black panthers and other movements like that that were using uncle tomming as a measure of
                  Message 8 of 23 , Sep 7, 2008
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                    --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Bob Mates <bluesbob@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > It meant that many clubs wouldn't let their black musicians sit
                    > and have a drink with the white customers. They weren't allowed
                    > to mix with the customers at all. I'm not aware of any "uncle
                    > tom" accusations against Fats. Those charges were levelled again
                    > Louis Armstrong, because he wouldn't participate in civil rights
                    > demonstrations. This was long after Fats was dead. Bob
                    >

                    Bob, sure the movement of the 1950's that was the beginning of black
                    panthers and other movements like that that were using "uncle
                    tomming" as a measure of negative contribution to their causes which
                    they thought to be identical with African Americans causes, were
                    after Fats was long gone, however, on the historical level I was
                    wondering what historically and officially was the movement opinion
                    about Fats, hopefully someone has an answer.
                    Tommer
                  • Bob Mates
                    My understanding has always been that Fats was just as popular with blacks as he was with whites, while he was alive. He was universally loved. The one thing
                    Message 9 of 23 , Sep 7, 2008
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                      My understanding has always been that Fats was just as popular
                      with blacks as he was with whites, while he was alive. He was
                      universally loved.
                      The one thing that's important to know is that people's views of
                      music can change, depending upon your situation. For instance,
                      many black people rejected the blues as "slavery music". It
                      didn't jibe with the new image African-Americans wanted to
                      convey. Let me give you a more personal example. I'm a blind
                      person. Now, I love Ray Charles. I think he was a great
                      performer. However, many blind people go out of their way to say
                      that they don't like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder or Jose
                      Feliciano. It has to do with the fact that many people will say
                      to you, "so, I guess that, being blind, you really dig Stevie
                      Wonder, huh?". So, you either say that you can't stand the guy,
                      or you go into this thing about how you do like him, but his
                      blindness has nothing to do with it.
                      In Fats's case, as times changed from might have changed the way
                      they perceived his music. But, as I said, my understanding is
                      that he was extremely popular while he was alive. Bob
                    • Robert Greenwood
                      ... black ... which ... Leaving aside the satirical possibilities (which greatly cheer me) of Bobby Seale or Huey P. Newton issuing an official edict on Fats
                      Message 10 of 23 , Sep 8, 2008
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                        --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Tommer" <tommersl@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Bob, sure the movement of the 1950's that was the beginning of
                        black
                        > panthers and other movements like that that were using "uncle
                        > tomming" as a measure of negative contribution to their causes
                        which
                        > they thought to be identical with African Americans causes, were
                        > after Fats was long gone, however, on the historical level I was
                        > wondering what historically and officially was the movement opinion
                        > about Fats, hopefully someone has an answer.
                        > Tommer
                        >

                        Leaving aside the satirical possibilities (which greatly cheer me) of
                        Bobby Seale or Huey P. Newton issuing an "official" edict on Fats
                        Waller, the Panthers, although they did some good work, are not noted
                        for their contribution to jazz criticism. Someone will correct me if
                        I am wrong. I suspect they had more urgent matters to attend to and
                        that the constituency they sought among sections of the black
                        American working class were all listening to Motown anyway and
                        couldn't care less about Fats.
                        Robert Greenwood.
                      • Gilber M. Erskine
                        Message 11 of 23 , Sep 8, 2008
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                          <<<Let me give you a more personal example. I'm a blind person. ---Bob Mates>>>

                          You obviously must depend on someone reading these posts to you. How can you ever be sure that what that person is telling you is correct?
                          ----------GILBERT M. ERSKINE

                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: Bob Mates
                          To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Sunday, September 07, 2008 3:02 PM
                          Subject: re: [RedHotJazz] Re: shopworn sentimentalism (was Bob Fuller musicians and recording)


                          My understanding has always been that Fats was just as popular
                          with blacks as he was with whites, while he was alive. He was
                          universally loved.
                          The one thing that's important to know is that people's views of
                          music can change, depending upon your situation. For instance,
                          many black people rejected the blues as "slavery music". It
                          didn't jibe with the new image African-Americans wanted to
                          convey. Let me give you a more personal example. I'm a blind
                          person. Now, I love Ray Charles. I think he was a great
                          performer. However, many blind people go out of their way to say
                          that they don't like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder or Jose
                          Feliciano. It has to do with the fact that many people will say
                          to you, "so, I guess that, being blind, you really dig Stevie
                          Wonder, huh?". So, you either say that you can't stand the guy,
                          or you go into this thing about how you do like him, but his
                          blindness has nothing to do with it.
                          In Fats's case, as times changed from might have changed the way
                          they perceived his music. But, as I said, my understanding is
                          that he was extremely popular while he was alive. Bob





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                        • Bob Mates
                          Actually, Gilbert, I have a computer, which reads the posts either in Braille or as speech. Therefore, the only one who can make a mistake is me! hahaha
                          Message 12 of 23 , Sep 8, 2008
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                            Actually, Gilbert, I have a computer, which reads the posts
                            either in Braille or as speech. Therefore, the only one who can
                            make a mistake is me! hahaha There's a lot of good stuff about
                            jazz available, either in Braille, or from people scanning it.
                            Bob
                          • Gilber M. Erskine
                            Thanks! ... From: Bob Mates To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 12:45 PM Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: shopworn sentimentalism (was
                            Message 13 of 23 , Sep 8, 2008
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                              Thanks!
                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: Bob Mates
                              To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 12:45 PM
                              Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: shopworn sentimentalism (was Bob Fuller musicians and recording)


                              Actually, Gilbert, I have a computer, which reads the posts
                              either in Braille or as speech. Therefore, the only one who can
                              make a mistake is me! hahaha There's a lot of good stuff about
                              jazz available, either in Braille, or from people scanning it.
                              Bob





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                              Version: 8.0.169 / Virus Database: 270.6.19/1659 - Release Date: 9/8/2008 7:01 AM


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