This is a really well put together compilation, the first CD has more instrumental pieces which demonstrate the intricacy and beauty of Fats' piano playing and arrangement. The second has the more vocally defined tracks (though the instrumental elements are not in any way missing) and the distinctive playfulness of Fats' vocal style which is a unique experience. Overall I've found listening to this a joyful experience and its a great CD for any fan as well as anyone that hasn't already heard much of his music.
Given the opportunity, Fats Waller could produce minor masterpieces, but his creative talents were undermined by the need to fund his increasingly hectic lifestyle, which factor bedevilled much of his later output. Fortunately for us, this Avid set has been cherry-picked with evident care, and the result lives up to the title. Those who know him only as the exuberant leader of his Rhythm group will discover two earlier sides with his Buddies, some of his distinctive piano solos, and some amusing dialogue on two collaborations with Jack Teagarden. It may come as a surprise also to hear him on the organ, in four 1927 pipe-organ solos and with Morris' Hot Babies the same year. In addition, he is featured on the Compton organ in "Ain't Misbehavin'", a side recorded with his Continental Rhythm during a visit to London in 1938, and the orchestral version of "Bond Street" from his London Suite of 1939 is included also. In short, anyone wanting an excellent showcase of Fats Waller's talents will not be disappointed.
Have played this a lot since buying it. Some wonderful old favourites and plenty of songs and tunes I'm just getting to know. Night club, theatre, bar room and the end of the pier all rolled into one. And for all the years that have passed, they sound good too. Enjoy.
Incomparable genius on piano and organ. Fantastically fresh sound, funnily and wittily sung by Fats, makes his premature demise even more tragic for the world of music. Everybody should buy Fats' music.