Fats Waller

Dance Band Days: Fats Waller and His Rhythm

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British discount label Prism Leisure's Dance Band Days albums of jazz greats contain a legend on the back cover reading, "Dance Band Days is a unique and authentic series of previously unavailable radio transcriptions." And that's all the information on sources you get for this 20-track collection of the Fats Waller performances on Dance Band Days: Fats Waller and His Rhythm. Waller, usually accompanied by a band, is his usual exuberant self, singing, playing, and mugging his way through a variety of material. On "St. Louis Blues" and "After You've Gone," he duets on piano with Bennie Paine. On "Shortnin Bread," his comic performance gets sufficiently risqué -- he seems about to sing the word "ass" but doesn't -- so that you wonder what radio station of the 1930s or '40s was likely to play the track. But it's all in fun, and there's plenty of good playing here. Unfortunately, the sound quality is substandard, and along with the nonexistent annotations, this makes for a minor collection only of interest to completists.

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