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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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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