Fats Waller is the greatest jazz pianist ever with art Tatum
He was an excellent and much copied jazz pianistnow considered one of the very best who ever played in the stride style. He also had a touch that varied from subtle and extremely light to very powerful. He was a master of dynamics and tension and release. But it was his singing, songwriting, and his lovable, roguish stage personality that sold his hundreds of recordings for RCA Victor, in a day when much of society did not recognize jazz as "serious" music. He played with many performers, from Gene Austin to Erskine Tate to Adelaide Hall, but his greatest success came with his own five- or six-piece combo, "Fats Waller and his Rhythm". Fats Waller was such an impressive and talented pianist that he came to the attention of the rich and famous- sometimes whether he wanted to or not. Fats Waller was in Chicago in 1926 and, upon leaving the building where he was performing, Waller was kidnapped by four men, who bundled him into a car and drove off. The car later pulled up outside the Hawthorne Inn, owned by infamous gangster Al Capone. Fats was ordered inside the building, to find a party in full swing. With a gun against his back, Waller was pushed towards a piano, whereupon the gangsters demanded he start playing. A terrified Waller suddenly realized he was the "surprise guest" at Al Capone's birthday party. Soon comforted by the fact that he wouldn't die, Waller played, according to rumor, for three days. When he left the Hawthorne Inn, he was very drunk, extremely tired, and had earned thousands of dollars in cash given to him by Capone himself and by party-goers as tips. Among his songs are "Squeeze Me" (1919), "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now", "Ain't Misbehavin'" (1929), "Blue Turning Grey Over You", "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling" (1929), "Honeysuckle Rose" (1929), and "Jitterbug Waltz" (1930). He collaborated successfully with the Tin Pan Alley lyricist Andy Razaf for a number of years. Waller also composed stride piano display pieces such as "Handful of Keys", "Valentine Stomp" and "Viper's Drag." His songs have become standards of the jazz repertoire.
Waller made a successful tour of the British Isles in the late 1930s, and appeared in one of the earliest BBC Television broadcasts. While in Britain, Waller also recorded a number of songs for EMI on their Compton Theatre organ located in their Studios in St John's Wood, London. He appeared in several feature films and short subject films, most notably "Stormy Weather" in 1943, which was released only months before his death.
For his hit Broadway show, "Hot Chocolates", with Razaf he wrote "What Did I Do (To Be So Black and Blue)?" (1929) which became a hit for Louis Armstrong. This song, a searing treatment of racism, black and white, calls into question the early accusations of "shallow entertainment" ignorantly leveled at both Armstrong and Waller.
Waller could read and write music well (from his classical keyboard studies) and would even, on occasion, perform organ works of Bach for small groups. He left his stamp on many per-bop jazz pianists. Count Basie and Erroll Garner, for example, would have sounded very different absent the Waller sound. Today, Dick Hyman, Mike Lipskin, Louis Mazatier and other jazz pianists perform in the Waller idiom. Although the stride style, like all jazz, must be learned primarily by ear, many scholars have transcribed his brilliant improvisations from old recordings and radio broadcasts, in sheet music form. The pianist and keyboard professor Paul Posnak produced transcriptions of 16 of Waller's greatest solos, published by Hal Leonard, which Posnak uses in concerts worldwide.Fats Waller is the greatest if i can someday use a time machine then i would like to meet him.
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