Antoine “Fats” Domino has left this world at the age of 89. We were lucky we had him so long. We almost lost him in New Orleans in 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but he survived and kept making music. We got twelve more years of that wonderful voice and unbelievable smile. (I need to add him to that mental list I have of musicians who love their work so much they can’t contain themselves.) Domino was always smiling at the piano, and even when he wasn’t, you could still see the echo of that smile in his eyes. He was irrepressible.
Domino was also one of the original architects of Rock & Roll. Without his trademark piano style, drawn from the jazz and blues that filled the air in his native New Orleans, the music I and so many others love so much would not have sounded the same. The old guard is dwindling now–just a few of the originals are still out there. But the music is still as vital and alive as it was decades ago.
If you’ve got some time to kill and want to be truly entertained, watch the episode of American Masters devoted to Domino. You will not be sorry to have spent an hour in the presence of this lovely, talented human.