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Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller
Performances in Transcription, 1927–1943
Edited by Paul S. Machlin
The seventeen transcriptions in this volume reveal the compositional artistry and comic play of Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller (1904-1943)-virtuoso jazz pianist, organist, singer, bandleader, parodist, comedian, and composer in the Harlem stride tradition. Using pairs of transcriptions of the same tune, this volume explores the creative process within Waller's improvisations by demonstrating the wide variety of gesture and idea captured in the moment of recording. Alternate takes of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," for example, show how deep the stylistic gulf between two versions of a single song could become, even within the same recording session, while alternate takes of "Waiting At The End Of The Road" performed on piano and pipe organ demonstrate Waller's ability to exploit the different expressive possibilities inherent in the two instruments. Drawn from recordings made throughout Waller's career, other pairs include a broad sampling of solo piano and pipe organ performances, popular songs, and small ensemble work: "Ain't Misbehavin', " "Gladyse," "Honeysuckle Rose," "I Ain't Got Nobody," "I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby," and "Rusty Pail." A single transcription of Waller's little-known homemade acetate of "That Does It" from his 1943 show Early To Bed completes the volume. The accompanying essay, " All Those Fine Arabian Things Your Little Heart Pines For," explores the nature of Waller's compositional and lyrical ingenuity, illustrated by recently discovered manuscript sketches that provide clues to Waller's musical imagination. Serving performers and scholars alike, this volume hopes to provide new insight into Waller's musical achievements.
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Reviews of this Volume
Budiansky, Stephen. “Resurrecting Fats.” Review of Performances in Transcription, 1927-1943, by Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller. Edited by Paul S. Machlin. The Atlantic Monthly 285, no. 3 (2000): 100-104.
Martin, Henry. Review of Performances in Transcription, 1927-1943, by Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller. Edited by Paul S. Machlin. Music and Letters 84, no. 1 (2003): 163-165.
Shipton, Alyn. Review of Performances in Transcription, 1927-1943, by Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller. Edited by Paul S. Machlin. American Music 20, no. 3 (2002): 344-346.