Jazz and wine. It’s ace! It’s like olives and wine. Risotto and wine. Pizza and wine. Cheese and wine. Wine and wine. It makes all the shit and the detritus of the day just slip away and get washed away down the drain like after an almighty rain storm.
And today is Fats Waller’s birthday. He was born in 1904 and his innovations in the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano. In other words he was – like whoever first had the idea of fermenting grape juice – an absolute genius.
Listen to him play (and sing) It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie here and, as you feel all the day’s stress begin to slip away, slowly open a bottle of wine and imagine yourself in some speakeasy looking sophisticated and cool. (In reality you’ll probably just look slightly drunk but – as I’ve no time for sin (or the truth) if it gets in the way of a better self image – let’s not give it too much thought.)
Waller was once kidnapped to be the surprise guest at Al Capone’s birthday bash and, allegedly, left three days later extremely drunk with his pockets stuffed with tips. Even this intoxicated, he was no doubt still playing the coolest stuff imaginable when the rest of us would struggle to string three words together – let alone see the piano keys.
Anyway, too much talk – let’s boogie, let’s drink …..
A quote: ” Here’s to our guest —
Don’t let him rest,
But keep his elbow bending.
‘Tis time to drink —
Full time to think
Tomorrow — when you’re mending.”
~”To Our Guest,” Toasts for the Times in Pictures and Rhymes by John William Sargent, 1904