Waller, Thomas

Waller, (Thomas Wright) “Fats”

(1904–43) jazz musician; born in New York City. Composer of "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Honeysuckle Rose," and other standards, and a leading exponent of the "stride" piano style, he began as an organist at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, where his father was pastor. He played New York cabarets and theatres in the 1920s, and though hampered by alcoholism, he achieved wide popularity during the 1930s as an irrepressible singer, songwriter, and stage and screen personality.