Jazz Legend Fats Waller To Get Digitized

Gucci and the GRAMMY Museum team for music preservation project
  • Photo: Charley Gallay/Wireimage.com
    Jennifer Hudson
February 11, 2012 -- 7:02 pm PST
GRAMMY.com

In September 2010 Gucci Timepieces signed a three-year partnership with The Recording Academy, launching a GRAMMY special-edition watch and jewelry collection designed by Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini. One goal of the partnership is to support the Music Preservation Program, a central mission of the GRAMMY Museum and a key initiative that seeks to preserve important musical recordings that are vital to our collective cultural heritage. In celebration of the launch of the program, GRAMMY winner Jennifer Hudson performed at a special event on Feb. 11 at the GRAMMY Museum.

The first year of the partnership was named the Year of Jazz with the works and performances of legendary jazz performer and musician Thomas "Fats" Waller (1904–1943) to be digitally remastered and preserved. Waller is a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and two of his recordings, "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose," have been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame. Waller was a unique piano and organ player as well as accomplished singer, songwriter, music producer, and comedic entertainer. His music and performance style influenced the likes of Count Basie and Louis Armstrong.

Throughout 2011, more than 30 of Fats Waller's recordings and nine original compositions were digitized and made available for a new generation to enjoy. They were officially presented by Gucci Timepieces and Jewelry at the GRAMMY Museum on Feb. 11.

Gucci Timepieces and Jewelry has committed to identifying and preserving recordings in need of digital restoration in archives acquired from Muzak. Many months were spent exploring the archives, and the works of four key musicians will be released and remastered throughout the partnership. Giannini, together with senior executives of Muzak and the GRAMMY Museum, selected the genres and artists that will benefit from Gucci Timepieces and Jewelry's support.

"At Gucci we truly have a 360 degree vision of music, defying the definition of specific genres to highlight what music really does: inspire," said Giannini. "We strongly believe in the influential power of icons and Fats Waller is definitely one of them. Together with Muzak and the GRAMMY Museum, we set out to unearth some of Waller's great works, unknown to today's audiences, with the purpose of restoring them with the attention they deserve."

"The restoration of these recordings mark a historic moment in music, allowing past generations of important musicians to communicate with future ones," says Bob Santelli, Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum. "With this program, Gucci, Muzak and the GRAMMY Museum are shedding light on the work of some of the most influential musicians whose music has helped shape the talent of many of today's artists."

Music has been, and continues to be, a fundamental part of Gucci's heritage and this initiative is in tune with Gucci's wider commitment to the arts and its sponsorship in other cultural areas, including film and youth music scholarship programs. 

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