Fats

Fats

[fats]
Waller, Fats, 1904-43, American jazz musician, singer, and composer, whose original name was Thomas Wright Waller, b. New York City. Waller began playing the piano as a child, and later studied with Carl Bohm and Leopold Godowsky. He became a protégé of James P. Johnson, who gave him piano lessons and furthered his career. From about 1920, Waller appeared in night-clubs and theaters, and in the 1930s he began recording. Waller's style influenced many jazz pianists. His compositions include Ain't Misbehavin', Black and Blue, Honeysuckle Rose, and London Suite.

See biography by E. Kirkeby (1975); study by P. S. Machlin (1985).

orig. Thomas Wright Waller

(born May 21, 1904, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Dec. 15, 1943, Kansas City, Mo.) U.S. jazz pianist, singer, and composer. Waller was influenced early by stride pianist James P. Johnson. He became an important exponent of stride piano by the late 1920s, recording solo piano pieces such as “Handful of Keys.” From 1934 he recorded with a small ensemble, Fats Waller and His Rhythm, integrating his vocals and unique comic timing with instrumental finesse. His rhythmically contagious performances of his own songs, such as “Ain't Misbehavin'” and “Honeysuckle Rose,” are timeless classics of jazz.

Learn more about Waller, Fats with a free trial on Britannica.com.

orig. Thomas Wright Waller

(born May 21, 1904, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Dec. 15, 1943, Kansas City, Mo.) U.S. jazz pianist, singer, and composer. Waller was influenced early by stride pianist James P. Johnson. He became an important exponent of stride piano by the late 1920s, recording solo piano pieces such as “Handful of Keys.” From 1934 he recorded with a small ensemble, Fats Waller and His Rhythm, integrating his vocals and unique comic timing with instrumental finesse. His rhythmically contagious performances of his own songs, such as “Ain't Misbehavin'” and “Honeysuckle Rose,” are timeless classics of jazz.

Learn more about Waller, Fats with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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