- In: Culture
- Published on 17 July 2012
- By James
Jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller was taken from us at only 39 years of age. Between 1929 and 1935 Waller recorded a plethora of hits that would become foremost influencers for later musicians like Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. His blend of down-home soul, jazz, swing, and stride music also laid the foundation for peers such as Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman.
Waller contracted pneumonia and died on a cross country train trip near Kansas City, Missouri on December 15, 1943, after making a final recording session with an interracial group in Detroit that included white trumpeter Don Hirleman. He was on his way back to Hollywood for more film work, after the smash success of "Stormy Weather". Coincidentally, as the train with the body of Waller stopped in Kansas City, so stopped a train with his dear friend Louis Armstrong on board. Enjoy some of Waller's biggest hits.