All too often the influences passed down from one musician to another are apparent only as distant melodies, those shadows of nostalgia that revive against the dying of some musical light. A distilled fraction of what made the original influence so notable.
But what do we make of two mammoth personalities, massive musical evangelists in their day, who only shared a stage a couple of times, three tops? Those sound like pivotal moments.
Fats Waller, son of a minister and a musician, kidnapped star of Al Capone's birthday party, and Satchmo / Pops / Louis Armstrong, perhaps the most bedrock figure in the history of American jazz, may have only played together a handful of times during Waller's lifetime before he passed in 1943. But there's little question the stride pianist and buoyant trumpeter were tuned in to the same human channel.
Each carved out a remarkable place in history and commanded any room he was in, but the treasures you find when digging a little - why Fats hated hearing 'Sunny Side of the Street' on the radio, why Pops wore a Jewish star his entire adult life. That's where things get interesting.
Satch Plays Fats is an homage from Satch to his late friend Fats, but it's more than that. It's a Second Line.
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A Current Affair
This episode has been resubmitted to fix an audio defect in the first publishing.