JAZZ FOR LAUGHS (PART 02)

Part 02 is such sweet sorrow,
I could not wait till it be morrow
To bring to you 02 before
I bring to you Parts 03 and 04.
Beyond 04 I cannot see,
But two to one it won’t be 03.

It’s not every day you see a poem co-authored by Shakespeare and Mistermuse….or a post about a man (Fats Waller) who was born in May and died in December, three days after my previous post featured a man (Spike Jones) who was born in December and died in May. A bit odd, perhaps, but hardly more noteworthy than a May-December romance….so, just for laughs, let’s call it a May-December Much Ado About Nothing.

Thomas “Fats” Waller, for those whose knowledge of jazz history is thin, was born May 21, 1904 in NYC. His father, a minister, was strict and tried to restrict his son to church music, but Fats was more attracted to popular music, and after his mother died, he moved in with a man who befriended him, stride pianist James P. Johnson. At age 15, Waller was hired by the Lincoln Theatre as house organist, providing improvisational background music for silent movies. Thus began his career as one of the most beloved jazz musicians and prolific song writers of his time, ending with his premature death at age 39.

Perhaps Waller is best remembered (if at all) for is his jovial personality and humorous way with popular songs such as this….

….and this:

But Fats could do ’em straight, too, as with this 1936 classic:

It’s only fitting to close with his 1929 composition and most famous song, which he often performed tongue-in-cheek, but took (mostly) seriously here:

Until the next post in this series, behave yourself.

 

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6 comments on “JAZZ FOR LAUGHS (PART 02)

  1. Don Frankel says:

    The Muse and The Bard is to me like George and Ira or Oscar and Lorenz. I know I told you that I saw ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ on Broadway and it’s a great musical. There are not too many people whose lives are rich enough to make a musical about but Fats Waller’s was.

    Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse says:

      Thank you, Don. Measure for Measure, that’s the best compliment I’ve had since the Twelfth Night of my marriage, which was 49 years ago.

      You did indeed tell me you saw AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ on Broadway, and you’re absolutely right about Fats Waller’s life. To quote jazz author Warren Vaché: “Fats Waller died tragically young. Although he left us a priceless heritage of songs that will be appreciated by generations to come, we will never know how much greater that heritage might have been if he had lived longer.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. RMW says:

    Had no idea Fats Waller died so young… considering he was such an American icon and had such an influence on music, I always imagined him living well into old age.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse says:

      You might say that Fats ‘lived large’ in his short life, eating and drinking like there’s no tomorrow….until one day in his 39th year, there WAS no tomorrow. But he remains a bigger-than-life figure to this day, and rightly so.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. literaryeyes says:

    The piano work in Ain’t Misbehaving is beautiful. These songs are like jazz and blues waltzing down the avenue. Serious and fun, just like Mr. Muse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse says:

      Thank you, Mary. Not to make Don Frankel jealous, but you just tied (the first sentence in his comment) for best compliment. On second thought, I’ll give you the edge because a gentleman should always defer to a lady (before de fur flies). 🙂

      Like

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