fats_wallerDedicated to the creative spirit and genius of American Composers Donald Erb and
T. ‘Fats’ Waller


In BRASS QUINTET I celebrate American Culture… and reaffirm my roots and inspirations for being a composer… in it you’ll hear homage’s to the music of T. ‘Fats’ Waller and Donald Erb. The last movt. is a theme and variations on one of Waller’s most famous tunes. Erb’s name is embedded in the introduction and the music reflects his style in several areas.


The INTRODUCTION holds the seeds of the music for all of the movements, like an exposition for the entire work.

The music begins with a mixture of humor and passion. You’ll hear powerful bursts followed by ‘whoops’ which are imitations of the sounds Curly from the three stooges made. Then a ‘serious’ low brass trio ensues (which music is from my doctoral thesis) and the trumpets jeer at it.

The idea for this opening is multifold. There’s the mix of humor and passion that is influenced by Waller’s music and which can open up the listener’s ears. Also this piece is my ‘anti-thesis’, in that I make fun of my own over-serious doctoral thesis work, which has some great music in it but was leading to a style of writing away from my true artistic temperament. BRASS QUINTET was premiered a year after I finished my D.M.A. at Cornell in a CHIRON Performing Arts event (11/1992).

The music which is intrinsic to this first movement is alternated with music which becomes the seeds for the following movements: CHORALE, COLORS and JAZZMUSIC – HOMAGE T.’Fats’ Waller. The last movement is a theme and variations on Waller’s famous tune ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ and is sometimes performed alone.

BRASS QUINTET is of approximately 12 minutes duration.

BRASS QUINTET was premiered by Quintus Brassus and has been performed by Westwind Brass and by Bombastiq Brass on multiple occasions.


Karl Kramer, Horn, composer/conductor



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