LOUIS ARMSTRONG — Satch Plays Fats: A Tribute to the Immortal Fats Waller (review)

LOUIS ARMSTRONG — Satch Plays Fats: A Tribute to the Immortal Fats Waller album cover Album · 1955 · Classic (1920s) Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Recorded in 1955 a year after his masterpiece "Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars Plays W.C.Handy","Satch Plays Fats" is another classic New Orleans flavoured album. Sure "Fats Waller" did not hail from there but came from "New York but "Pops" definately did and that was the way he played with that original form of Jazz that emanated from his trumpet in the 1920's. The "All-Stars" are exactly the same as for the W.C Handy album with "Thelma Middleton" providing vocals again and although sometimes criticised for her range she most likely did what Louis Armstrong always wanted and that is to accompany him and not make things unbalanced and I myself absolutely love to hear Louis sing but you would have to agree he was not "Frank Sinatra". "Trummy Young" is blasting on trombone with his usual approach and poor "Barney Bigard" on clarinet is still trying to be heard by blowing as hard as he can to keep up."Billy Kyle" is on piano,"Arvell Shaw", bass and "Barrett Deems" is on drums. Fats was a stride pianist who often used humour in his lyrics but he still passed along the message of being black in the first half of the ninetenth century with his composition "Black and Blue" and his songs that he composed in the 1920's and 30's are still played today and are considered Jazz Standards as "Fats Waller's" place in Jazz history is considered to be a cornerstone for the genre. His tunes were part of Louis Armstrong's standard repertoire with "Ain't Misbehavin" and "Keepin' Out of Mischief" being two of his regulars and as usual he breathes new life into them with a traditional approach that only he could do with only the best trumpet playing in Jazz.

"Honeysuckle Rose" begins the album and the whole band has a quick shot with a solo and Thelma with Billy on piano lead us in ,with Louis coming in on vocals and Barney's clarinet just underneath with some superb quick solos from everybody with Louis going first. "Blue Turning Grey Over You" is down tempo and New Orleans as it can get with Louis opening with some wonderful trumpet and singing this one without Thelma. "I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby and My Baby's Crazy 'Bout Me" with "Squeeze Me" follow with both being superb." Keepin' Out of Mischief' Is one of the highlights with a wonderful rendition by the band and who else could sing it better, than Louis, even Frank Sinatra could not have had the feel that Louis had for this song. "All That Meat and No Potatoes" is often pointed out as low point and it does not really seem to gel with the vocals between Thelma and Louis but does it matter when Trummy and Barney play two great solos respectively. The last two tracks are more high points with the first being a wonderful version of "( What did I do to be so) Black and Blue" with the closer being a stunning take of "Aint Misbehavin" and given beautiful spirited feel with some of that top note Louis Armstrong trumpet. Trummy's trombone with Barney's clarinet are superb but Louis just blows them all away with his solo that just keeps getting higher.

"Satch Plays Fats" is just as essential as "W.C Handy" in your jazz collection with both being New Orleans traditional masterpieces from the greatest musician ever that played trumpet and one who's own exuberance always showed through with his joyful approach to life as well as his music. Both these albums are my favourite "Louis Armstrong " albums and both are pure Jazz with that original New Orleans influence.This review was only taken from the original issue of the cd which was released way back in the late 1980's and all those extra bonus tracks were not issued on this edition.
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Matt wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Thanks fellas I just noticed your comments.
snobb wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I agree here, and "real jazz" reviews are in absolute minority...
js wrote:
more than 2 years ago
By the way, its really nice we get some "real jazz" reviewed on here now and again, ha ha.


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