Paperback | Nov 2017 | University of Minnesota Press | 9781517903916 | 256pp | 229x152mm | Forthcoming | GEN | AUD$26.99, NZD$32.99
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.