Fats Waller: The Joint is Jumpin'


The Joint Is Jumpin'


Fats Waller (piano, vocals)


The Very Best Of Fats Waller (RCA 63731)

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Fats Waller (piano, vocals), Herman Autrey (trumpet), Gene Sedric (clarinet, tenor sax), Al Casey (guitar),

Charlie Turner (bass), Slick Jones (drums)


Composed by Fats Waller, J.C. Johnson & Andy Razaf


Recorded: New York, October 7, 1937


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

The reason Fats Waller was so huge (6' tall, 300 lbs., shoe size 15) was because there were two of him in there. One was a dazzling pianist and prolific songwriter. "The Joint Is Jumpin'" gives us the other Fats, a Pagliacci-type buffoon hilariously re-creating the raucous ambience of a Harlem rent party. Of Waller's death at 39 from pneumonia, Frederick J. Spencer, M.D., observes: "His alcoholic clowning endeared him to his fellow musicians and the public. But if he had stayed sober the world might not have been deprived so soon of one of its great pianists and entertainers." Duh!  If James Dean had been a safe driver, we'd have more James Dean films to watch. The problem is, if James Dean had been a safe driver, he wouldn't have been James Dean. If Fats Waller had stayed sober, he might've made a swell shoe salesman, but he wouldn't have kept The Joint Jumpin'. We are who we are.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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  • 1 Sour Owl // Sep 09, 2008 at 08:41 AM
    In the age where stars of music dies at 27, the fact he made it to 39 tells me, as an artist, he followed the happy side of his heart and enjoyed every second of his life. In those days, there were no vaccines and proper medical care as we know it today. I'm sure the liquor was pretty intense as well. His musical output is so substantial. What a proficient songwriter.