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Fats Waller

2017
Authors:

Maurice Waller and Anthony Calabrese
Foreword by Michael Lipskin

Fats Waller

The exuberant life and times of a jazz giant with an unmatched zest for life and music

Thomas “Fats” Waller was a legendary stride pianist, a wildly entertaining comedic singer, and the composer of such classic melodies as “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” and hundreds more. From his earliest days as a child prodigy to his wild nights playing Harlem rent parties to his appearances on stages around the world and his eventual commercial success, it’s all here.

Fats was my first jazz piano influence and his spirit is still vital to my approach to jazz . . . Maurice Waller’s book about his father clarifies what has been for so long just story and rumor. Now I feel I know his legend from an authentic source—his son. Thanks, Maurice. Fats lives, indeed.

Dave Brubeck

Thomas “Fats” Waller was a legendary stride pianist, a wildly entertaining comedic singer, and the composer of such classic melodies as “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” and hundreds more. This is the intimate, behind-the-scenes story of his exuberant life, as told by his son, Maurice Waller. The public knew him as a charming, rascally, and effervescent showman. Friends like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Irving Berlin, and George Gershwin knew him as a serious piano stylist and composer. Maurice Waller reveals the rarely seen side of Fats as a family man, struggling to juggle domestic affairs with the demands of being one of the era’s busiest jazz men. From his earliest days as a child prodigy to his wild nights playing Harlem rent parties to his appearances on stages around the world and his eventual commercial success, it’s all here. Few stories capture the frenetic energy of the age quite as well as the life story of this rollicking, hard living jazz icon.

Fats Waller

Maurice Waller (1927–1989) was a composer, pianist, and the son of legendary musician Fats Waller.

Anthony Calabrese (1938–1996) was a freelance writer, journalist, and film producer.

Michael Lipskin is a veteran stride pianist and former protégé of Harlem jazz master Willie “the Lion” Smith.

Fats Waller

Fats was my first jazz piano influence and his spirit is still vital to my approach to jazz . . . Maurice Waller’s book about his father clarifies what has been for so long just story and rumor. Now I feel I know his legend from an authentic source—his son. Thanks, Maurice. Fats lives, indeed.

Dave Brubeck

A delightful look into the Jazz Age.

Chicago Tribune

Maurice Waller’s look-back at life with, or mostly without, his father is an affectionate and remarkably objective portrait of a lovable, exasperating, comedy-prone, joy-spreading, and excessively self-indulgent and talented jazz pianist, organist, and composer, who was also a warm and generous parent.

Christian Science Monitor

Fats Waller

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Available in August 2017