Alice Letts

Jazzing things up


Above is the video of an excellent performance of Alligator Crawl, Thomas “Fats” Waller.

Here is a video from the man himself, Waller.


The Institute of Jazz Studies (IJS) Dana Library has a fantastic website on Thomas Fats Waller, including a digital library from which you can view some of the orginal music scores handwritten by Fats Waller himself.

“Though often providing only a minimal outline of the music, the sketches and drafts in the Institute of Jazz Studies Collection clearly served Waller’s creative purposes well; from them he could conjure complete and elegant final versions of his songs.”

(source: Institute of Jazz Studies Rutgers University Libraries, on 28/03/09.)

The IJS continue by explaining that these manuscripts demonstrate the process used by Fats Waller to compose his music. This process is categorised into four different stages as follows:

(1) single melodic line on one staff;

(2) a melodic line accompanied by chord indications in letters and numbers;

(3) a fully worked out, two-stave piano version of the song;

(4) this is also the final stage. This stage consists of a completed version of the song in vocal score and a separate staff for the melody and lyric linked to two staves beneath it for the piano part.

Are you interested in playing jazz yourself. Looking for tutor books for Jazz. You can find the music score from your local music store, or online. Here are just some of a number of websites where you can find sheet music.

And to find other sites, just do a search on google and other search sites.  If you have any favourite websites for finding your sheet music, please share by posting a comment below.

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