Featured Tracks

Honeysuckle Rose

Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Honeysuckle Rose

Thomas "Fats" Waller; Andy Razaf
Fats Waller, piano. Recorded August 2, 1939. Originally issued on Victor LPT-6001-2 (master E4VP-8248).

 As a pianist and organist Fats Waller (1904-1943) was one of the most original and brilliant stylists in both jazz and popular music. As a singer and entertainer he was simply delightful. His sly humor, his superb rhythmic sense, and his irresistible impish charm made a Waller performance a joy. It was happy music that he played and sang, and it was always great fun to be a member of the party that Fats was perennially giving.

But we must never forget that this someti mes outrageously extroverted entertainer was also one of the most prolific and richly inventive popular composers of his time. There is a substantial body of Waller’s piano works waiting to be rediscovered. One hopes that he will not have as long a wait as Scott Joplin.

Fats Waller’s popular songs, however, are still with us, as lively and infectious as ever. Among them are "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Blue Turning Gray over You," "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling," "Squeeze Me," and the ever blooming "Honeysuckle Rose."

"Honeysuckle Rose," written for a nightclub revue at Connie' s Inn in Harlem in 1929, was largely ignored until the mid- thirties, when big bands as well as singers like Bing Crosby and Mildred Bailey began bringing it to the attention of the publi c. Lena Horne sang it in As Thousands Cheer , a 1943 movie musical, and her very insinuat ing interpretation became so identified with her that she has rarely been able to perform since without including it in her repertoire. But it still belongs to Fats Waller, as his rendition here proves.

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