Sunday, June 13, 2010


O pianista de jazz, organista, compositor e comediante Thomas Wright Waller, mais conhecido como Fats Waller, nasceu no 21 de Maio de 1904, no Harlem, em Nova York, filho do pastor Edward Martin Waller da Igreja Batista.

Waller foi um dos mais populares artistas de sua época, com sucesso comercial e de crítica, em seu país e na Europa. Foi também fértil compositor, com várias composições ainda tocadas para modernas audiências, como "Honeysuckle Rose", "Ain't Misbehavin'" e "Squeeze Me". Gravou pela primeira vez com 18 anos de idade.

Começou estudando piano clássico e órgão na igreja. Jovem ainda teve lições regulares com um conhecido pianista do Harlem, James P. Johnson, que o ensinou jazz. Também foi influenciado por Willie "The Lion" Smith, músico que tocava um tipo de música chamada stride.

Fats faleceu em dezembro de 1943 em Kansas City.

Fats sola lindamente e canta uma de suas famosas composições "I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter".

Jazz pianist,organist, composer and comedic entertainer Thomas Wright Waller, best known as Fats Waller, was born on May 21,1904 in New Yor City. He was the youngest of four children born to Adaline Locket Waller, wife of the Reverend Edward Martin Waller from the Harlem Baptist Church.

Fats Waller started playing the piano when he was six and graduated to the organ of his father's church four years later. At the age of fourteen he was playing the organ at Harlem's Lincoln Theater and within twelve months he had composed his first rag. Waller's first piano solos (Muscle Shoals Blues and Birmingham Blues) were recorded in October 1922 when he was just 18 years old.

He was a skilled pianist, and master of stride piano, having been the prize pupil and later friend and colleague of the greatest of the stride pianists, James P. Johnson. Waller was one of the most popular performers of his era, finding critical and commercial success in his homeland and in Europe.

He was also a prolific songwriter, and many songs he wrote or co-wrote are still popular, such as "Honeysuckle Rose", "Ain't Misbehaving" and "Squeeze Me". Fellow pianist and composer Oscar Levant dubbed Waller " the black Horowitz".

Waller composed many novelty swing tunes in the 1920s and 30s, and sold them for relatively small sums. When the compositions became hits, other songwriters claimed them as their own. Many standards are alternatively and sometimes controversially attributed to Waller.
The anonymous sleeve notes on the 1960 RCA (UK) album 'Handfull of Keys' state that Waller copyrighted over 400 new tunes, many of which co-written with his closest collaborator Andy Razaf.

After Waller's death in 1943, Razaf described his partner as 'the soul of melody....a man who made the piano sing...both big in body and in mind...known for his generosity...a bubbling bundle of joy'.

Gene Sedric, a clarinettist who played with Waller on some of his 1930's recordings, is quoted in these same sleeve notes recalling Waller's recording technique with considerable admiration. 'Fats was the most relaxed man I ever saw in a studio', he said, 'and so he made everybody else relaxed. After a balance had been taken, we'd just need one take to make a side, unless it was a kind of difficult number.

His playing once put him at risk of injury. Waller was kidnapped in Chicago leaving a performance in 1926. Four men bundled him into a car and took him to the Hawthorne Inn, owned by gangster Al Capone. Fats was ordered inside the building, and found a party in full swing. Gun to his back, he was pushed towards a piano, and told to play. A terrified Waller realized he was the "surprise guest" at Al Capone's birthday party, and took comfort that the gangsters didn't intend to kill him. According to rumor, Waller played for three days. When he left the Hawthorne Inn, he was very drunk, extremely tired, and had earned thousands of dollars in cash from Capone and other party-goers as tips.

Fats Waller passed away December,1943 in Kansas City.

Reference - Wikipédia

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