Fats Waller, Original Vintage Concert Poster, Empire Theatre, Finsbury Park, London, Monday August 29, 1938.
Although the celebrated pianist and composer had made brief visits to Europe previously, in July of 1938, Fats Waller began his first extended tour of the UK and Europe; originally scheduled for ten weeks it was cut short after appearances in Demark, Norway and Sweden because of the pre-war turmoil in Europe. But the tour began in Scotland in mid-July, then proceeded to London for sell-out performances at the Palladium and in the last week of his UK engagements he appeared at the Finsbury Park Empire, considered as second only to the Palladium on the Moss Empire Theatre Circuit. As with many visiting American musician in the thirties, Waller’s appearances were restricted to the still-vibrant UK vaudeville theaters because of the British Musician's Union's strict rules against foreign musicians performing in England's bars, night clubs and hotels. This very scarce poster was printed for his one–night appearance at the Finsbury Park Empire, where Waller, billed as The Master Of Swing, headlined a bill that included Freddy Zay, “juggler on the high uni-cycle”, Toni Borello and Lady who delivered “thrills on a trapeze” and comedian Joe Young, with his “spasms of tomfoolery”; a classic British vaudeville cast, with whom Fats may have felt right at home, being himself no stranger to tomfoolery of a very high order.
Unusual scroll-like format, 10” by 30”, crisp horizontal factory folds , touch of wear to folds, narrow curved line of light age toning and damp stain to verso with mild transfer to recto, else, about near fine, clean, no pin holes, paper loss or edge tears, the printing in navy and red is still exceptionally bright after seventy four years, stored and shipped flat.
This is a rare piece of jazz ephemera, one of the earliest jazz posters we’ve had, in collectible condition. J1734