22 May 2017

Post 509: FATS WALLER'S 'SQUEEZE ME'

Squeeze Me was composed and published in 1926. The composers were given as Fats Waller and Clarence Williams. Clarence was, of course, also the publisher. (Don't confuse this song with Just Squeeze Me - another good jazz tune. Just Squeeze Me was composed in 1941 by Ellington and Gaines.)


In the early days of Tuba Skinny, this great young band recorded and often performed Squeeze Me. The song really cried out for a lady singer (even though Fats Waller himself provided the vocal on one of his recordings); and Erika Lewis showed just how brilliant she is. Take her performance and compare it with the original sheet music. You find she keeps the words virtually to the letter, but her timing and varying of pitch illustrate well what a great instinct she has for jazz. She decorates the melody exquisitely; and her little touches of rubato are spine-tingling.

The Band plays the tune in Eb, to suit Erika's voice; and it sounds very good in that key, even though the original sheet music has it in G. Unlike some other bands, Tuba Skinny perform the whole piece - the 12-bar Verse as well as the 16-bar Chorus. They easily build some 2-bar breaks into the Chorus and they also make the most of the chromatic runs at the end of the Chorus.


You can watch Tuba Skinny perform the song BY CLICKING HERE. As so often we have to thank the generous video-maker codenamed RaoulDuke504 for making it available to us.

Here - for comparative purposes - is the sheet music from 1926: