Fats Waller

Thomas Wright Waller, also known as Fats Waller, was an American jazz pianist and organist. He was also a comedian entertainer. Born Thomas Wright Waller 21 May 1904 in New York City (New York), United States, to a Baptist minister father. From Virginia, the Waller family immigrated to Harlem. Adolph Waller, Fats’ grandfather was a skilled violinist. Waller began his musical career early. As a child, he studied organ and classical piano. His Baptist church music director encouraged him to also study the J.S. organ works. Bach. Waller studied piano regularly as a young adult with James P. Johnson, a legendary Harlem stride pianist. Willie “The Lion”, a legendary stride pianist, gave Waller the nickname “Filthy”. Johnson introduced Waller the world of rent parties, which were parties with a pianist, to help pay rent. Waller soon developed a performing career, and his first recording was made in October 1922, at the age of 18 years. Waller was a great pianist, and is often considered to be one of the best in stride. He played with many musicians before he became a solo artist, including Erskine Tate and Bessie Smith. But his greatest success was with his own six- or five-piece band, Fats Waller u0026 his Rhythm. He was a talented and impressive pianist who attracted the attention of the famous and wealthy, sometimes without even knowing it. In Chicago, Fats Waller was performing in 1926. Four men kidnapped Waller and put him in a car. Later, the car pulled up in front of Al Capone’s Hawthorne Inn. Fats was directed to enter the building to see a party in full swing. Waller was forced towards a piano by the gangsters, who held a gun to his back. Waller, now terrified, realized that he was Al Capone’s surprise guest at the birthday party. Waller played for three days, according to rumor. He was soon comforted by the fact he wouldn’t die. He was extremely drunk and tired when he left the Hawthorne Inn. He had also earned thousands of dollars through tips and cash from Capone. His songs include “Squeeze Me”, 1919, “Keepin’ Out of Mischief”, “Ain’t Misbehavin'”, 1929, “Blue Turning Grey Over You”, 1929, “Honeysuckle Rose”, 1929, piano cutting piece “Handful of Keys”, I’ve Got a feeling that I’m falling” 1929, and “Jitterbug Waltz 1942.” His commercially successful career was a collaboration with Andy Razaf, Tin Pan Alley’s lyricist. Some music critics say it eclipsed his musical talent. He weighed more than twenty-one stone, which is what gave him his nickname. His drinking and weight are thought to have contributed to his passing. Waller made a successful tour through the British Isles in late 1930s and was featured in one of the first BBC Television broadcasts. Waller recorded a variety of songs while in Britain for EMI using their Compton Theatre organ, which is located in their Studios at St John’s Wood in London. Waller also appeared in short films and feature films. His most famous film was Stormy Weather, released in 1943. He co-wrote “What Did You Do (to be So Black and Blue?)” with Razaf. 1929, which was a hit for Louis Armstrong. This song is a scathing attack on racism, both black and white. It calls into question the claims of “shallow entertainment” made against Armstrong and Waller. Waller, who was thirty-nine years old, died from pneumonia on an eastbound train near Kansas City, Missouri. This occurred after a west coast engagement. Text contributed by users is available under Creative Commons By–SA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.

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