Musical selection: Piccadilly, from London Suite
The Chronological Fats Waller, 1939
London, June 13, 1939
Chronological Classics 973






My introduction to real jazz in the flesh—and lots of it—took place in Copenhagen in the early fall of 1938. Fats Waller was touring Scandinavia and my mother, bless her, got us tickets to one of his concerts. I hardly knew any English; at not quite nine years old, I had only recently switched from German, having left Vienna in the wake of the Nazi takeover of Austria, to Danish. But that was no problem.




I had never even seen anyone remotely resembling this mountain of a man in constant motion, or heard anything like the music he produced with his hands, his voice and his whole body. Fats, as he might have put it, was mesmerizing, and treated me to a matchless sendoff to the land of jazz. I haven't left yet.


© Copyright 2002, Institute of Jazz Studies Rutgers University Libraries
Fats Waller, wife Anita, and Ed Kirkeby aboard the ship Isle de Franc from June 14-20, 1939 as Waller makes his to Europe for his second tour, June 14-20, 1939