With a completely different personnel, John Petters tackles the music of Fats Waller here. Again a CD devoted to Fats Waller! In the last issue of the Jazz Gazette I reviewed already the Geoff Cole CD on Jazz Crusade. Too much of the same thing? Not at all! It's just the proof that, in the hands of perfect musicians, tribute CDs can be very much creative.
First the choice of material out of Fats' enormous repertoire is partly different. The global sound is totally different. With trumpet and clarinet/tenor sax in the front line, this band is closer to the original Fats Waller & His Rhythm.
We've known Cuff Billett for a very long time as one of the best trumpet players in the New Orleans revival style.
We remember Goff Dubber with Ken Colyer, but also with the Temperance Seven and George Webb's Dixielanders. On this CD both prove that they are just as much at ease with the early Harlem swing style.
Neville Dickie, internationally known as a ragtime, boogie and stride pianist, is the right man on the right place here.
Micky Ashman (Humphrey Lyttelton, Chris Barber) is one of England's best exponents on the early string bass.
John Petters - does it really needs saying? - plays perfect and tasteful drums.
From the first number on I knew that reviewing this CD was going to be a piece of cake. It swings like hell, the solos are fresh and creative, the Fats Waller mood is there without any attempt to pure imitation. I could stop here and say: "Great CD! Buy it!"
I just want to mention a couple of things.
Neville Dickie's talents as a great pianist are showcased on 4, 6, 9 and 14, which are piano features. This also results in nice variety. Fats Waller would have been pleased with Neville's work!
"Ain't Misbehavin" is taken at a beautifully relaxed tempo. "Honeysuckle Rose" starts with the verse played by muted trumpet and piano. Very nice! Further on in this number they make great use of the well known Fletcher Henderson riff. These people know their classics!
"Jumpin' The Joint" is a Neville Dickie/John Petters composition based on the Waller hit "The Joint Is Jumpin' ". And jump it does!
"It's A Sin To Tell A Lie" is a monument of swing.
The sound is excellent with maybe Cuff a little bit under-recorded but it doesn't hurt. Playing time is more than 70 minutes. What keeps you from adding this fine CD to your collection?
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