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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 526-550 of 551 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
OKeh W490085 10-in. 6/9/1930 Rollin' down the river Lanin’s Famous Players Jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick C2315 10-in. 9/14/1928 Hop off Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick C339-C340 10-in. 5/28/1926 Georgia bo-bo Lil's Hot Shots Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo songwriter  
Brunswick E28029 10-in. 8/10/1928 Estoy mas que satisfecho Marimba Guatemalteca de Luis Betancourt Marimba band composer  
Brunswick E30094 10-in. 6/28/1929 Ain’t misbehavin’ Abe Lyman’s California Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo; without vocal (take G) composer  
Brunswick E31743 10-in. 12/26/1929 Zonky Bill Brown ; Brownies Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Brunswick E36912 10-in. 7/8/1931 It’s you Boswell Sisters ; Dorsey Brothers Orchestra Female vocal trio, with jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick E17612-E17615 10-in. 1/21/1926 Chinese blues The Original Memphis Five Jazz/dance band songwriter  
Brunswick E23633-E23635 10-in. 6/15/1927 Alligator crawl Royal Flush Orchestra ; Fess Williams Jazz/dance band composer  
Edison 18240 10-in. 2/16/1928 I'm more than satisfied Duke Yellman Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Edison 18922 10-in. 12/6/1928 I've got a feeling I'm falling Duke Yellman Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Edison 19161 10-in. 4/17/1929 I've got a feeling I'm falling Vaughn De Leath ; Muriel Pollock Female vocal solo, with piano composer  
Edison N-615 10-in. 12/6/1928 I've got a feeling I'm falling Duke Yellman Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Edison N-860 10-in. 4/17/1928 I've got a feeling I'm falling Vaughn De Leath Female vocal solo, with piano composer  
Edison N-1084 10-in. 8/22/1929 Ain't misbehavin' Golden Gate Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Gramophone 0LA1742 10-in. 4/28/1937 Honeysuckle rose Coleman Hawkins All-Star Jam Band Jazz/dance band composer  
Gramophone 0EA6383 10-in. 8/21/1938 Don't try your jive on me Fats Waller and his Rhythm Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo and organ solo leader, instrumentalist, organ, vocalist  
Gramophone 0EA6385 10-in. 8/28/1938 Swing low, sweet chariot Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, pipe organ, arranger  
Gramophone 0EA6386 10-in. 8/28/1938 All God's chillun got wings Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, pipe organ, arranger  
Gramophone 0EA6387 10-in. 8/28/1938 Go down, Moses Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, pipe organ, arranger  
Gramophone 0EA6388 10-in. 8/28/1938 Deep river Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, pipe organ, arranger  
Gramophone 0EA6389 10-in. 8/28/1938 Water boy Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, pipe organ, arranger  
Gramophone 0EA6390 10-in. 8/28/1938 Lonesome road Fats Waller Pipe organ solo arranger, instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Vocalion E7367 10-in. 6/13/1928 I’m more than satisfied The Original Memphis Five Jazz/dance band composer  
Vocalion E1540-E1542 10-in. 10/29/1925 House party stomp Three Jolly Miners Instrumental trio composer  
(Results 526-550 of 551 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Waller, Fats," accessed August 11, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101963.

Waller, Fats. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 11, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101963.

"Waller, Fats." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 11 August 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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