Fats Waller: Numb Fumblin'
Fats Waller (piano)
Handful of Keys (Proper)
Fats Waller (piano).
Composed by Fats Waller.
Recorded: New York, March 1, 1929
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Waller was the most overtly humorous of any serious jazz musician. Nothing could be more ironic than his title for this spacious, slowly paced but bouncing blues.
Waller had the best trills of any jazz pianist. He shows them off here not only as single notes but in double thirds as well. Waller said offhandedly that he studied with classical über-virtuoso Leopold Godowsky; as far as I know, this is unproved, but the last chorus of high-register passage-work in "Numb Fumblin'" has a kind of effortlessly manic Art Nouveau elegance not far from Godowsky's world.
The emotion of "Numb Fumblin'" is perverse, joyous, and groovy. Classic Fats!
Reviewer: Ethan Iverson