Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-vi

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Foreword

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xviii

There is a growing interest in America's cultural heritage—witness for example the numerous film revivals, pictorial social histories, and expansive record reissues. So today, over thirty years after his death, there is a renewed interest in Thomas "Fats" Waller and his contributions.

Fats Waller excelled in many ways. He was a jazz piano stylist with a touch that influenced the course of the pop and jazz keyboard, a composer of hit songs and Broadway musicals, and an energetic performer capable of bringing happiness to thousands during the mid...

read more

Acknowledgments

Maurice Waller and Anthony Calabrese

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xix-xx

We would like to acknowledge the help and information supplied by the following people: Naomi Waller Washington, Buster Shepherd, Donna Waller, Al Casey, Harry Beardsley, Don George, Bennie Martini, James Powers, Richard Savitsky, Jay Anson, Joe Allegro, Rosemary Peters, Lou Capone, Glen Wesson, Ed Kirkeby, the staffs of the Lincoln Center Library, theNeu; York Times "morgue," and ASCAP index, and the many members of ASCAP who came forward to tell us...

read more

1. 1864-1904 The Background of the Waller Family

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-10

Born in rural Virginia a few years after the Civil War, Edward Martin Waller and Adeline Lockett were raised in poverty. They grew up on nearby farms and saw each other frequently, meeting every Sunday at the local church. As they grew older, Edward and Adeline would meet more frequently and, as youngsters do, they would talk about their individual futures. Not surprisingly, they eventually started talking about their future together.

One thing Edward saw in their future was leaving the Bermuda Hundred district of Virginia. Edward had always been...

read more

2. 1914-1919 Fats Discovers Harlem Nightlife

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 11-16

Things were beginning to change in the Waller family. Adeline had developed diabetes and her strength began to fail. In the best of health, taking care of the large family had been demanding, but with the illness it was an impossibility. The children would have to take on greater responsibility and the family would have to move to a new apartment where there would be fewer steps for Adeline to climb. The new apartment was equipped with a piano, so the Waters that my Uncle Bob had worked so hard to obtain was given to the Pentecostal...

read more

3. 1919 The Death of Fats' Mother

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 17-24

Life now had a regular routine: practice every morning on the piano; afternoons at Immerman's making the daily deliveries; and nights haunting the cabarets. He loved jazz but he couldn't play it, so he watched the men who could: Russell Brooks, older brother of his classmate Wilson; Willie 'The Lion" Smith; and James P. Johnson, who was soon to become the acknowledged leader of the Harlem stride-piano sound. Dad wasn't old enough to gain admittance to the clubs but he made every effort to watch and listen. Johnson, Smith,...

read more

4. 1920-1922 Fats Meets James P. Johnson and Willie The Lion Smith

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 25-34

By 1920 the emergence of black music was beginning to revolutionize the sounds coming from Tin Pan Alley. As is the case with all revolutions, this "new" music was a long time coming, and its roots could be traced back over many years.

Before the turn of the century, black pianists were playing ragtime, a blend of European classical-traditional form and the African syncopation that had survived through the years via minstrel music and the cake walk....

read more

5. 1922-1924 Fats Marries Edith

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 35-48

In six months the kid in shorts, who had pulled down the tent on top of Russell Brooks, had befriended the latter, been "adopted" by his family, taken on as the protege of James P. Johnson, and had impressed The Lion. His "foster mother," Mrs. Brooks, expressed her happiness and encouraged him, but she wasn't Adeline. Lil and James P. voiced their joy over Fats' triumphs, but a void remained unfilled. He rarely communicated with Edward, who still failed to see any worth in his son's career. Fats was seventeen and he was...

read more

6. 1923-1924 Fats and the Music Publishers

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 49-54

Clarence was enthusiastic about his friend's success, and continued to urge Fats to write down some of his own material. Since Williams had heard the "Birmingham Blues" improvisation he was quite sure that Dad had a special ability as a composer. Strangely, Dad didn't give in to Clarence until after he had started doing the piano rolls. Perhaps he decided to try his hand at composing because he was going through a dry period at Okeh.

In any event, one day in the early summer of 1923 Fats showed up in Clarence Williams' office and said that he was ready to give it...

read more

7. 1924-1926 Fats Meets His Second Wife and Captain Maines

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 55-68

By 1924 Fats Waller was known throughout all of Harlem's music scene. He was something of a star on the rent-party circuit, and was known for his piano rolls, recordings, and radio broadcasts. But he was only enjoying his fame in Harlem, and that meant that he had to continue working at the Lincoln and Lafayette Theatres.

Next door to the Lafayette, the Shuffle Inn had fallen on bad days. The owners asked the Immerman brothers to come into the business and pull the club back to its feet. In a very short time the revamped...

read more

8. 1927-1928 Fats Writes Keep Shufflin'

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 69-80

Ralph Peer was pleased enough with the November sessions to ask Dad, in early January, to make another trip down to Camden. Peer had always considered Dad to be one of the country's finest organists and was eager to have him do more work on the church's instrument. Captain Maines tried to take advantage of the situation and press Victor into an exclusive contract, but the company wasn't ready to commit itself. Even without the exclusive contract, Pop was thrilled at the opportunity to record on what he considered his first instrument....

read more

9. 1928-1929 Fats Writes Load of Coal

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 81-92

My brother Ronald was born on November 26, 1928, and Dad was happy to be at Mom's bedside rather than on Welfare Island. But as relieved as he was, he was still low on funds. Once again the word went out that Fats Waller was looking for some trash and needed work.

The Immerman brothers had an offer. Impressed with the money brought in by the black revues, the Immermans decided to take advantage of the phenomenon while it was still hot. Would the Waller-Razaf team be interested in writing material for a show at Connie's...

read more

10. 1930-1931 Fats Becomes a Recording Regular for RCA

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 93-104

Hot Chocolates has always been associated with "Ain't Misbehavin'," and that song has always been associated with Louis Armstrong. In fact, Satchmo credited a great deal of his success to that number: "From the first time I heard that song... it used to send me. I believe that great song, and the chance I got to play it, did a lot to make me better known all over the country."1

Satchmo's rendition of "Ain't Misbehavin'" was one of the highlights of Hot Chocolates and the Immermans were very disappointed...

read more

11. 1932-1933 Fats Goes to Work for WWL

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 105-122

Besides spending most of his free afternoons in Connie's Inn, working with Leonard Harper on stage shows, Dad was a regular performer there, both on piano and on a special piano-shaped Estey organ that the Immermans had installed especially for Fats Waller. And a great deal of Fats Waller's popularity (and income) came from Connie's—directly or indirectly. Prohibition had made the club one of the hottest spots in the city for good shows, hot jazz, and a place to drink without being hassled by the police....

read more

12. 1934-1936 Fats Makes It to the Top as a Composer and Recording Artist

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 123-140

By the end of 1935 my father certainly had everything he wanted— except a private life with his family. Dad spent almost the entire year on the road in 1936, playing extended engagements or doing onenight stands. After a while the buses and trains and living out of a suitcase began to bore him. To compensate for the discomforts of being on the road, Pop would buy all the comforts he could when he was at home.

The first comfort he purchased was a brand new Lincoln. In the early twenties, his friend Clarence Williams was doing extraordinarily...

read more

13. 1937-1943 Buster Shepherd Remembers the Good and the Bad Times

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 141-148

A good deal of my father's professional life was spent on the road, and the man who probably spent the most time on tour with Fats Waller was my cousin, Herman "Buster" Shepherd. Buster, was Dad's chauffeur, bodyguard, and companion. He covered well over one hundred thousand miles of road with the Fats Waller Band, always at my father's side. I thought it would be appropriate for Buster to give his own story about life on the road with Fats Waller.

"I was seventeen years old when I went to work for Fats. I started because his other chauffeur, Bobby Driver, just didn't know how to...

read more

14. 1940-1943 Fats at His Peak as a Recording Artist and Songwriter

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 149-162

The English tour had successfully reinvigorated promoters' interest in Fats Waller. Official Films, a Columbia subsidiary, asked Kirkeby to arrange for Dad to appear in four shorts, singing and playing his own material. More publicity was always welcomed by the manager; and soon Fats Waller was performing two of his classics, "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose," plus two comedy numbers, "The Joint Is Jumpin'" and "Your Feet's Too Big" in front of the cameras. (To the best of my knowledge, there are no surviving...

read more

15. Maurice Remembers His Father

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 163-174

I mentioned earlier that my father and I shared a mutual bond in our love for music. I was a shy child and always held my father in awe. Afraid of his reaction, I was nine years old before I worked up the courage to ask for piano lessons. I can still remember his reply.

"What the hell took you so long, Maurice?"

He went out and found the best piano teacher available, Mrs. Tallarico, who I remember as a pleasant fat woman who came to the house twice a week to beat scales into my head. I once made the...

read more

16. 1943 The Death of Fats

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 175-184

The Santa Fc Chief would take Dad and Kirkeby to Chicago, where they would change trains to make their New York connection. They reached their berths and Dad sighed with relief as he hit the mattress. "Oh, man, I can't take this much longer."

Kirkeby replied that, in fact, Fats Waller never would have to do any more of the grueling travel and one-nighters any more. Royalties from records and shows, concerts, and (possibly) Broadway appearances would be sufficient to guarantee a very acceptable living from...

Recording Dates and Personnel

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 185-208

Fats Waller's Published Songs

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 209-212

Fats Waller's Unpublished Songs

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 213-216

Fats Waller's Piano Rolls

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 217-218

Song Arrangements

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 219-230

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 231-235

About the Authors

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 236