| CD Review
GEOFF COLE & HIS HOT FIVE— A Tribute to Fats Waller & His Music (Jazz Crusade
JCCD3047) Playing time: 71m. 52s.
The Minor Drag; Curse of an Aching Heart**; Cabin in the Sky; What’s the Reason?; LuLu’
s Back in Town; Honey Hush; Truckin’*; Rosetta; Black & Blue; Christopher Columbus; I
Used to Love You**; Two Sleepy People; Your Feet’s Too Big**; Yacht Club Swing; Ain’t
Misbehavin’*; Music Maestro Please; Oh Looka There Ain’t She Pretty?
Geoff Cole, trombone, vocals*; Tony Pyke, clarinet, alto sax; Pat Hawes, piano, vocals**;
Ken Matthews, string bass; Colin Miller, drums; Tom Waller, commentary & analysis.
Recorded Dave Bennett Studio, England, on Feb. 2 & 3, 1999.
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 exchanging songs for hamburgers or selling outright the copyrights of
others for a few dollars to purchase gargantuan meals with which to satisfy his
prodigious appetite, producing his considerable girth and nickname.
In addition to all of that he was a considerable humorist, satirizing some of the
pedestrian songs he had to record and, at the same time, giving swinging renditions to
many of these same songs. Some of his compositions have become standards, part of the
American Song Book, such as Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Honeysuckle Rose (the former on
this disc, the latter not) with lyrics by Razaf.
It is no surprise that Waller became the stuff of legend: witness the stories about him
and Al Capone and the three-day party, or his and Eddie Condon’s riding in a cab to a
recording session and Waller composing Minor Drag as they rode along in the cab, for