This Will Make You Feel Better

Fats WallerDoes the gloomy weather have you depressed? Can’t face having to shovel another foot of snow? Still paying off your Christmas credit card binge? Here’s a perfect remedy: Fats Waller in 1934 with Gene Sedric, tenor saxophone; Herman Autrey, trumpet; Harry Dial, drums; Billy Taylor, Sr., bass. I’ve always been impressed with Autrey’s ability to insert lovely little obligato licks among phrases of Waller’s vocal. Sedric, “Honey Bear” to his friends, was a marvel of warm playing.

See? You feel better.

“Don’t Let it Bother You” is included in this CD collection. No modern home should be without it.

Have a nice weekend.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit


  1. Terence Smith says

    Yes, this is just what the doctor ordered. Fats can always remind us that life’s too beautiful not to take lightly. Fats is levity in every moment of his piano, his perfect compositions, and his spontaneous discovery of lightness in any & every lyric, no matter how banal or serious.

    For some reason this clip made me instantly hear something in my mind’s ear, something from my father’s record collection: Fats Waller’s take on the old spiritual “( Dem) Dry Bones.” It’s the same same band. The beautiful obligatos are in evidence, Autrey and Sedric”s clarinet take perfect solos and contribute haunting vamps. Waller takes supernatural glee in telling the lyric his own special way. And the piano solo is eternal. I suspect that nobody who’s ever heard it will ever forget it.

    Let’s not forget Al Casey, the guitarist in Fats Waller’s group. Like the others, everything he did was dripping with good humor and very contributory, never getting in Fats’ way to say the least. I didn’t notice him on “Don’t Let it Bother You”, but on “Dry Bones” he is very audibly ( in Fats’ word) “grrr8”!

    • says

      Al Casey kept playing beautifully right up to the end. I had the pleasure of playing with him several times when I subbed with the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, just a few years ago. He had a strong swing and a lovely melodic imagination that never failed to delight me.

  2. says

    I’ve been using Fats’s music to cheer myself up ever since I first discovered him in junior high school.
    A search on his name on YouTube will give you a pleasant afternoon’s watching, including this clip from the movie “Stormy Weather”:

  3. says

    It was the jazz of the late 20’s and 30’s that inspired me to become a jazz musician. This Waller track is glorious, smile inducing, original music. As I learnt more, and became a better musician, I progressed chronologically through the history of jazz. I loved the more advanced harmonies, the smoother rhythm sections. I fell in love with every piano player from Hines to Monk to Evans. I made it briefly up to Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, and then permanently slipped back to the middle. I find in my dotage that I’m slipping back even further, especially in my listening, and now often get the most pleasure out of the music that turned me on in the first place.

    Why am I writing this? Well, I wonder if this is true of others, and I also wonder whether the unpretentious joy that leaps out of this music will ever come to pass again. I suppose were just to cynical and post-modern for that ever to happen…pity.

    Mike (the old fart) Greensill