Original Broadway cast performance, directed by Richard Maltby, Jr., broadcast on NBC-TV on June 12, 1982:
No matter the source, the word that keeps coming up in any description of Thomas “Fats” Waller is “irrepressible”, the synonyms for which include “lively”, “energetic”, “unstoppable”, “buoyant”, “uncontrollable”, and “boisterous.” He was all of that, and lots more: a virtuoso pianist and organist; a composer and songwriter; a violinist, singer, and a comedic entertainer. As a songwriter, Waller’s closest collaborator was the lyricist Andy Razaf, who provided Waller with the lyrics for, among other songs, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Honeysuckle Rose, The Joint is Jumpin’, Willow Tree, Keeping Out of Mischief Now, and (What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue. Razaf aptly described Waller as being:
“the soul of melody. A man who made the piano sing… both big in body and in mind. Known for his generosity, [he was] a bubbling bundle of joy.”
I like that: “a bubbling bundle of joy.”
Speaking for myself, I can use a bundle of joy right about now (hell, a thimble-full would do). So here goes. Waller’s performance of his own Ain’t Misbehavin’ linked below comes from the movie Stormy Weather (1943), which starred Lena Horne.
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