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Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News

"Nobody in jazz was ever funnier than "Little Fatsy Watsy Waller" as he calls himself at one point in this disc - so much so that it's all too easy not to see the most wicked demolitionist in the history of American music behind the legendary drinker, keyboard card and all-time virtuoso piano player. Sure he was a guy who'd play virtuosic piano runs and then purr, "Ahhh, the ticklin' is so terrific." But he was also a guy who could wink and bark, as he does here at one point, "I wouldn't be nothin' without a Baptist to save me," a tribute to sarcastic insincerity that may yet stand the test of eternity. While pleasing it mightily, Fats Waller was having American on for all time.

There's never been a time of year when America doesn't need Fats Waller, but he's especially welcome now. The 50 minutes of music on this disc were originally recorded in New York City's Yacht Club for broadcast in 1939. So this is Fats the royal entertainer, the guy whose jump tunes could cheer anybody up. He introduces his classic "Ain't Misbehavin'" by saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, just to let you know, I paid my alimony and I ain't misbehavin'." And if you believe that, you'll also believe that the Baptists saved him."





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