Moran's Fats Waller Dance Party got the Gilmore/Fontana joint jumpin'

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Monday April 28, 2014


Jason Moran’s Fats Waller Dance Party got the Gilmore/Fontana joint jumpin’ (review)
By Mark Wedel

KALAMAZOO MI — Early in the 20th century, Fats Waller played beautiful, sophisticated stride piano, capturing the sound of Harlem’s urban life. He was also an entertainer, willing to clown and give people what they wanted, to get the party started.

Another pianist out of Harlem, Jason Moran, took all of Waller’s aspects, set them in the 21st century, put on a big Fats Waller head, and made his own party at WMU’s Williams Theatre Sunday. His Fats Waller Dance Party, brought to town as a collaboration between the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Fontana, had the joint jumpin’.

For his second set of the day, Moran began, intense at the keys — grand piano and an electric Rhodes — with “Honeysuckle Rose.” Lisa E. Harris provided the sweet vocals, Leron Thomas blew tasteful trumpet, Taurus Mateen laid out heavy electric bass, and sharp-as-a-tack Charles Haynes hit a hip hop-influenced beat on the drums.

Around the next tune, “Lulu’s Back in Town,” people began to dance.

To read the full review click here