Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 02 April 2020

Waller, Fats [Thomas Wright]locked

  • Alyn Shipton
  •  and Bill Dobbins

Extract

[Thomas Wright]

(b New York, May 21, 1904; d Kansas City, MO, Dec 15, 1943). American jazz and popular pianist, organist, singer, bandleader and composer.

Alyn Shipton

His father Edward Waller, a Baptist lay preacher, conducted open air religious services in Harlem, at which as a child Fats Waller played the reed organ. He played the piano at his public school and at the age of 15 became organist at the Lincoln Theatre on 135th Street. His father hoped that Waller would follow a religious calling rather than a career in jazz, but after the death of his mother, Adeline Waller, in 1920 he moved in with the family of the fellow African American pianist Russell Brooks. Through Brooks, Waller met James P. Johnson, under whose tutelage he developed as a pianist, and through whose influence he came to make piano rolls, starting in 1922 with Got to cool my doggies now...

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Please subscribe to access the full content.

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz