Based upon the artistic and commercial success of “Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy”, George Avakian gathered the All Stars into the studio again for a second session to record tunes by Fats Waller. This is also a stunning album: the All Stars, at the top of their form, play great material by a single composer. All Stars vocalist Velma Middleton, (who was often underrated) is especially captivating.
Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller only worked together twice, briefly in 1925 in Erskine Tate’s band and four years later in the New York revue Connie’s Hot Chocolates. But Waller made an indelible enough impression for Satchmo to record the tribute album Satch Plays Fats: The Music of Fats Waller in 1955 when such ideas were new. If you love Louis Armstrong, buy it. If you love Fats Waller, buy it. If you just love jazz with a swing beat, then this collection is for you. Satchmo gives us an incomparable interpretation of Waller’s music that would have made the corpulent keyboard king himself very proud indeed. It is soooo SWEET! You won’t be disappointed.
Armstrong infuses these pieces with a style very true to Fats’ own, including the humour and wit that Satchmo weaves into the lyrics.
The sound is smooth, and the rhythm is HOT! Recording quality is very good, and the selection is impeccable — some of Waller’s greatest hits.