By 1925 the pre jazz era was in full effect. Names like Louis Armstrong, Duke' Ellington, and Count' Basie were going to be a part of jazz history forever. As jazz became the backbone for most of the music that is heard today, many names were going to be recognized for their contributions to music history. One of them being Thomas Fats' Waller. .
Born May 21st, 1904, in New York, Fats was the son of Edward Martin Waller a minister Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. He played the organ and sang in the choir. But fats would only continue with that routine until the age of fifteen; he would move to the Harlem Cabaret area, occasionally doubling as a theatre organist and as a. piano-roll artist for the Q-R-S Company. Before 1930 Fats would have already performed as the pianist for great blues singer Bessie Smith. .
The advantage that Fats had growing up, was his tutor, James P. Johnson, better known as the founding father of stride piano. Waller learned most of his characteristics of his style of playing, which was characterized as light and springy' from Johnson. .
Fats' first recordings were done in 1922. But it wasn't 1929 when he caught a break writing the score for the Broadway hit "Hot Chocolates" with lyrics supplied by his friend Andy Razaf. His most famous song "Ain't Misbehavin- was part of this show, which also featured the great Louis Armstrong. .
Waller was a great entertainer and in 1934 and at George Gershwin's party, with a delightful performance, one of Victor Records representatives who delighted by his playing and entertaining, scheduled a recording session for Fats with the company. Fats' band was known as Fats Waller and his Rhythm'. .
Waller was also the mentor of Count' Basie, one of the great band leaders of the swing era along with Duke' Ellington. Everybody wanted to play for either Baise or Ellington, and you were recognized as a good musician once you were part of either one of these bands.