Fats Waller – “A Handful of Keys”

On this day (May 21) in 1904, the toweringly influential stride pianist Fats Waller was born in New York City. Waller, whose incredible skill on the keyboard was matched only by his outsize personality as a showman, essentially set the standard for modern jazz piano. And as a composer, he wrote songs that have stood the test of time. A number of his compositions — including “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “Honeysuckle Rose” — have become jazz standards. Today’s Song of the Day is “A Handful of Keys,” originally recorded for RCA Victor in 1929 and reissued in 2013 on the album Fats Waller’s Greatest Hits. A classic example of Waller’s adventurous stride-piano style, the melody moves at a clip that dares you to keep up.

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