Once in a great while the jazz world produces an artist who is able to achieve wide commercial success while operating on a high musical level. Such a man was Thomas “Fats” Waller, pianist, singer, composer and humorist. –Mike Lipshin, Harlem Stride Pianist, music director and documentary producer
If one thing could be said to stand out above all else in the performances of Fats Waller, it was the joy in him, the pure joy of being alive despite having to abide the overt racism of his time. He was both amusing and an amused observer, laughing at the mores of the world and at himself laughing at the world. When it came to love songs, he had fun not only with banal, but often with superior, love songs. Not for nothing was Fats called The Clown Prince of Jazz.
We stride on now with Part Two of the Fats Waller Documentary, narrated by his son, Maurice: