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Fats Waller's stride piano style was in demand at rent parties and millionaires' mansions. Somehow, he pulled everyone in and got them to dance.
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive
May 13, 2011 Moran's new project with Me'Shell Ndegeocello transforms Waller's rollicking stride piano style into contemporary dance music.
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Make 'em laugh.
Jack Delano/Library of Congress via Flickr
April 6, 2011 Some jazz musicians are known as much for their wit as for their chops. To celebrate National Humor Month, hear five jazz songs designed to make you laugh.
You never know what you'll find when you open up your mailbox.
November 25, 2010 This Thanksgiving, Morning Edition and All Things Considered are examining the impact of the U.S. Postal Service's current cutbacks. NPR Music partner station KUT in Austin, Texas, remembers 10 of the classic songs that came out of writing or waiting for that special letter.
Fats Waller seemed to pack 10 lifetimes of fun into his 39 years on the planet.
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive
April 12, 2010 Born out of Harlem in the 1920s, stride pianists took the basic left-hand "oompah" rhythm of ragtime, but played it with more swing and complexity, while the right hand played the melody and the ever-increasing improvisations upon it. Read and hear a five-song introduction to a style that travels great distances up and down the keyboard.
May 19, 2008 Everyone knows the expression, "April showers bring May flowers." The beauty of flowers inspires songs of color, happiness, love, and passion, with a hint of the summer yet to come. In honor of the season, here's a small bouquet of jazz with a floral flair.
February 13, 2008 Every year, Valentine's Day brings the same old sappy cards, chocolates, and heart-shaped jewelry — stuff that's nowhere near as special as retailers would have you believe. Why not impress your sweetheart with some music inspired by love instead?
December 18, 2006 Music critic Kevin Whitehead has selected some special jazz box sets for the music lover on your gift list this holiday season.
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October 2, 2006 If You Got to Ask, You Ain't Got It is Sony Legacy's new 3-CD set of jazz-great Fats Waller's best music. Historians and music critics say no one has ever quite been able to fill Waller's shoes since his death in 1943.
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September 28, 2006 Fats Waller was often dubbed the "clown prince" of jazz who delighted crowds with his playful stage antics — a reputation that overshadowed his gifts as a musician and songwriter. A new CD collection of his recordings focuses on the music behind the merriment.
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May 21, 2004 Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead pays tribute to Fats Waller on the centennial of his birth, and reviews Fats Waller: The Centennial Collection, a CD and DVD.
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