I always love to fill requests and we have two that are ready to roll. The week after Christmas we will feature 1930s film star Wini Shaw. Today, a return engagement with the great Fats Waller.
Waller’s September 1941 series yielded four superior Soundies. (We shared Honeysuckle Rose early in the year and it is on this site, although I don’t think there is a search function to help locate it. You just have to keep scrolling downward.) All four tunes were associated with Waller, all joyfully presented on screen.
“The Joint Is Jumpin’” was written by Fats, with lyrics by Andy Razaf and J.C. Johnson. It pictures a Harlem “house rent party” in which admission to said party was used to pay the rent. While there is a great deal of action on screen, it is Fats who steals the show, first with his vocal and then with some solo piano that illustrates why he is considered one of the finest stride pianist in the history of the music. Fats shares the vocal with Myra Johnson, who was featured a few days ago in Quick Watson the Rhythm.
Director John Primi was in the studio during Waller’s sideline session, editing some previously filmed Soundies. He recalled, “Waller was most cooperative and easy to work with. He brought a large glass jug of gin to the session, and it was shared freely among cast and crew. Some of the lack of sync might be due to everyone’s happy mood.”
Be sure to stay safe when your joint is jumpin’ this holiday season. While I prefer rye to Fats’s gin, the same rule applies: No drinking and driving!