I was happy to revisit this vintage British television documentary, one of several such pieces reissued on DVD by MVD Visual. It incorporates every piece of Fats Waller footage extant (all of his Soundies plus his appearances in the feature films Hooray for Love, King of Burlesque, and Stormy Weather) along with lively...
commentary by his son Maurice, who has an endless supply of anecdotes and observations, Jean Hutson (widow of Waller’s songwriting collaborator Andy Razaf), fellow musicians and admirers Eddie Barefield and Marshall Royal, and pianist Sammy Price, who demonstrates the art of stride piano. They provide a colorful, sometimes intimate portrait of the high-living pianist and entertainer who died much too young in 1943 just shy of his 40th birthday. If you’re already a Fats Waller aficionado you won’t learn anything new or startling, but you’ll certainly have a good time.
(Screen Edge/MVD Visual)
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