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Fats Waller’s 100th Birthday

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Surely we would be remiss not to note the 100th birthday of the great Fats Waller, who was born May 21, 1904. Many decades after his passing, his work continues to kick ass. Among other groovy things, he wrote “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

His last professional performances were caught in front of Hollywood movie cameras for the classic musical Stormy Weather. You should own this movie and/or the soundtrack. He died a few days later of pneumonia at age 39 on a train headed back to Harlem, December 1943.

Which only adds a bit of poignancy to his spirited performances of the hit, and in a beautiful battle-of-the-sexes duet with Ada Brown, “That Ain’t Right”. It all looked so fine, then it was gone. As he said repeatedly in his hook line on screen and final public words, “One never knows, do one?”

Among Mr. Wallers more stellar recordings, you might sample some of these:

Ain’t Misbehavin
The Viper Drag
Honeysuckle Rose
Keeping Out of Mischief Now
Hog Maw Stomp
Smashing Thirds
A Handful of Keys
Tea for Two

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