Fats Waller

Fats Waller (1934-1943) & Bessie Smith (1923-33)

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At the outset, combining the works of Fats Waller and Bessie Smith would seem to be a great idea. Each set the standard for the musical worlds they inhabited; both lived fast lives and split the scene way ahead of schedule. A truly well-constructed Waller/Smith album would be enjoyable to the max. In 1999, however, Bella Musica committed an inexplicable goof by pasting a picture of Fats Waller on the front of this CD but omitting his music entirely, for all 18 of the recordings are by Bessie Smith with no Fats Waller whatsoever. Why the producers went to the trouble of specifying the years 1934-1943 (the exact duration of his tenure as leader of the "Rhythm" band) without including actual recordings by him remains an inexplicable mystery. Such sloppiness sinks this item to the bottom of the barrel.