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Fats Waller

Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller (May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943) was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, violinist, singer, and comedic entertainer. His innovations in the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano. His best-known compositions, "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose", were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1984 and 1999. Waller copyrighted over 400 songs, many of them co-written with his closest collaborator, Andy Razaf. 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". It's possible he composed many more popular songs and sold them to other performers when times were tough.

Waller started playing the piano at the age of six, and became a professional organist aged 15. By the age of 18 he was a recording artist. Waller's first recordings, "Muscle Shoals Blues" and "Birmingham Blues", were made in October 1922 for Okeh Records. That year, he also made his first player piano roll, "Got to Cool My Doggies Now". Waller's first published composition, "Squeeze Me", was published in 1924. He became one of the most popular performers of his era, touring internationally and achieving critical and commercial success in the United States and Europe. He died from pneumonia, aged 39.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 21st, 1904 (New York City), Died Kansas City

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1922 - 1942

Roles Represented in DAHR: piano, leader, vocalist, composer, pipe organ, songwriter, celeste, arranger, lyricist, organ, director, electric organ, speaker

Notes: Sometimes listed as Thomas Waller or Thomas Wright Waller.

Recordings (Results 501-525 of 572 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
OKeh S-73359 10-in. 5/7/1925 Home alone blues George McClennon Jazz Devils ; Eddie Heywood Jazz/dance band, with piano composer  
OKeh S-73360 10-in. 5/7/1925 Anybody here want to try my cabbage? George McClennon Jazz Devils Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh 73738 10-in. 10/26/1925 Squeeze me Clarence Williams’ Blue Five ; Eva Taylor Instrumental sextet, with female vocal solo songwriter  
OKeh 74072 10-in. 3/25/1926 Brother Ben Sara Martin Female vocal solo, with instrumental quintet songwriter  
OKeh 74206 10-in. July 1926 Senorita mine Eva Taylor ; Clarence Williams Female vocal solo, with piano composer  
OKeh 74207 10-in. July 1926 Charleston hound Eva Taylor ; Clarence Williams Female vocal solo, with piano composer  
OKeh 74453 12/21/1926 Midnight stomp Esther Bigeou Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band songwriter  
OKeh W80258 10-in. 12/21/1926 Midnight stomp Esther Bigeou Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band songwriter  
OKeh W80729 10-in. 4/14/1927 Old folks shuffle Clarence Williams’ Blue Five Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W80854 10-in. 5/10/1927 Alligator crawl Louis Armstrong ; Hot Seven Jazz/dance ensemble composer  
OKeh W81450 10-in. 9/17/1927 Wringin' an' twistin' Bix Beiderbecke ; Eddie Lang ; Frank Trumbauer Jazz/dance trio composer  
OKeh W81825 10-in. 11/15/1927 I'm more than satisfied Larry Abbott Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal duet composer  
OKeh W400974 10-in. 6/29/1928 Squeeze me Louis Armstrong ; Hot Five Jazz/dance sextet, with male vocal solo and male vocal trio songwriter  
OKeh W401467 10-in. 12/19/1928 Freeze out Clarence Williams Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W401784 10-in. 4/4/1929 I've got a feeling I'm falling Smith Ballew Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W401815 10-in. 4/19/1929 I've got a feeling I'm falling Little Molers ; Miff Mole Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W402534 10-in. 7/19/1929 Ain't misbehavin' Louis Armstrong Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
OKeh W402535 10-in. 7/22/1929 (What did I do to be so) Black and blue Louis Armstrong Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
OKeh W402540 10-in. 7/19/1929 That rhythm man Louis Armstrong Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
OKeh W402541 10-in. 7/19/1929 Sweet Savannah Sue Louis Armstrong Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
OKeh W402551 10-in. 8/2/1929 Jungle jamboree Harlem Footwarmers Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W402552 10-in. 8/2/1929 Six or seven times Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W402553 10-in. 8/2/1929 Snake hip dance Duke Ellington Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W402881 10-in. 8/23/1929 Ain't misbehavin' Seger Ellis Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W402966 10-in. 9/18/1929 Six or seven times The Little Chocolate Dandies Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio songwriter  
(Results 501-525 of 572 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Waller, Fats," accessed September 22, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101963.

Waller, Fats. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 22, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101963.

"Waller, Fats." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 22 September 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101963

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