Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

If You Got to Ask, You Ain't Got It

Overweight jazz pioneer who can barely be contained in three CDs

Harlem-preacher's son turned pianist-organist and bar singer, Fats Waller defied the racial odds to become a pop star in the '30s. When he died at 39 in 1943, he'd scored more hits than fellow crossover virtuoso Louis Armstrong. But he's been poorly served by CD reissues until this three-disc collection. Legendary producer Orrin Keepnews avoids chronological mishmash by dividing Waller's immense output into originals, instrumentals and covers. A prolific tunesmith who wrote "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Ain't Misbehavin'" with the great black lyricist Andy Razaf, Waller got big by yakking up such supposed trivia as "Your Feet's Too Big" and "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie." And though his stride and swing were always muscular, he could tickle the ivories like the classical artist he yearned to be.

Blender, Nov. 2006