Fats Waller Dance Party Kicks off Harlem Stage 30th Anniversary

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Friday July 27, 2012


Fats Waller Dance Party Kicks off Harlem Stage 30th Anniversary
By: Jeff Mays

HARLEM ‘” Jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran has one goal in mind when he and singer Meshell N’degeocello kick off the 30th year of Harlem Stage with their “Fats Waller Dance Party” Saturday night: Movement.

“I want to see people out dancing and having a good time,” said Moran. “I wanted to force myself in a situation to work for people.”

The dance party, an original work commissioned by Harlem Stage, celebrates the work of Waller who was known for late-night swinging jams at Small’s Paradise in Harlem where nearly everyone was on their feet.

“Today, in a jazz club, if an audience member starts to move too much they are ostracized and looked at as if they are strange,” said Moran, a Harlem resident.

That wasn’t always the case. It certainly wasn’t true in Waller’s era.

With the dance party, Moran wants everyone on their feet. N’degeocello updated the lyrics and combined them with Moran’s updated music to give present day listeners a taste of what it might have been like during a Saturday night at Small’s Paradise.

‘We are so proud to…bring Fats Waller’s music back to the community that helped inspire it so many years ago,’ said Harlem Stage Executive Director Pat Cruz.

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