Thomas 'Fats' Waller : The Great Solos 1929-1941
Last updated: 17.12.19
Paperback: 96 pages; (February 1998). Usually ships within 2-3 days.
Reviewer: A reader from Natchez, MS USA
If you are at all familiar with Fats Waller, you undoubtably have been in awe of his work. His keyboard mastery, his compositions, his "tickling tricks"...all combined with his irrepressable humor made him the genius of his time. And deservably so.Noone could touch his ability on the keys. This book, beautifuuly put together, gives you the music of Fats. My hat is off to Posnak. I have no idea how he was able to transcribe some of this material, as some of it is quite complex in harmonies and rhythms. Posnak himself must be a thrill to hear. The world of stride piano fanciers and admirers owes him a world of thanks for this labor of love. Here you will find one of Fats' signature pieces- "Handful of Keys". Folks, this is not for the faint of heart, as the chords are full and rich, and the "tricks" are numerous. I only wish that he had also included James Johnson"s "Carolina Shout", as Fats also had a winner with his interpretaion of that one, written by his teacher. "Ain't Misbehavin'" is great, and sounds just like the recording that Posnak transcribed it from. If you know this piece and are able to play it already, do yourself a favor and augment your rendition with some if not all of this version. I have already gleaned much from it, and indeed, play this version in it's written form, as you would have a hard time improving upon it without muddying it. "The Viper's Drag" and "Keeping Out of Mischief Now" are, once again, so faithfully brought back to life that it is eerie. It is as if Fats himself is sitting there just GIVING this material to you, as Posnak delivers the true sounds and life of the pieces. If you have guessed that I think the world of this book, you got it! If you love
stride piano, or for that matter, just damn good piano, and have the patience to sit and work on the material, you will have treasures in your hands. But I will warn you just a bit- the material isn't for the
beginner or even novice; this IS going to take some experience, reading ability and comprehension.
Most of us will have to spend some time working out the fingerings and rhythms. as a learning aid, try purchasing several good Fats Waller tapes or CDs that have these pieces on them.Knowing how
they are supposed to sound can be of benefit. Just try not to compare your ability with Fats.. we are
all not worthy!!! So turn on your piano lamp, get a cold glass of tea (or your favorite adult
beverage....Fats would be proud), and work at it. It is surely worth it.