After his mother died and a quarrel with his father, Fats lived a time to James P. Johnson's's, a great figure of music in Harlem who will give him strong piano lessons. His first recorded in 1922 at the age of 18. He recorded two blues (Muscle Shoals Blues and Birmingham Blues) these constituting his first solo piano pieces. His relaxed technique and artistry already showed how he was comfortable with recording sessions.
Saint Louis Blues - (organ, 1926)
In the 20's, piano records had a great success and Fats was therefore able to record many solos in 1929. These recording sessions include some original compositions among the most famous of the pianist : Handful of Keys, Sweet Savannah Sue, Smashing Thirds, Valentine Stomp, Numb Fumblin'.
In 1934 Fats formed his own orchestra "Fats Waller & His Rhythm". This was a huge success ans he recorded more than 400 titles with this ensemble. Fats became a famous musician and appeared regularly on radio. He was one of the first jazz musicians to have a regular radio show. Whilst alive, although being much appreciated by the public for his entertainment and great spontaneity, Fats Waller was often seen more as a clown and an entertainer than a real jazz musician. This was always somewhat upsetting to him. However, we can see through his many recordings that he could be very serious and was an inspired and talented musician who created some beautiful pieces of poetic music.
Go Down Moses (radio Broadcast, C.1941)
1 - Blue Black Bottom, 2 - Numb Fumblin', 3 - Love Me Or Leave Me (Take 1), 4 - Love Me Or Leave Me (Take 2), 5 - Valentine Stomp (Take 1), 6 - Valentine Stomp (Take 2), 7 - I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling (Take 1), 8 - I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling (Take 2), 9 - I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling (Take 3), 10 - Smashing Thirds, 11 - Turn On The Heat, 12 - My Fate Is In Your Hands, 13 - African Ripples, 14 - Hallelujah, 15 - California Here I Come, 16 - You're the top, 17 - Because Of Once Upon a Time, 18 - Carolina Shout (Take 1), 19 - Carolina Shout (Take 2), 20 - Honeysuckle Rose,
1 - Muscle Shoals Blues, 2 - Birmingham Blues, 3 - Handful Of Keys, 4 - Sweet Savannah Sue, 5 - Waiting At The End Of The Road (Take 1), 6 - Waiting At The End Of The Road (Take 2), 7 - Baby Oh, Where Can You Be ? (Take 1), 8 - Baby Oh, Where Can You Be ? (Take 2), 9 - Viper's Drag, 10 - Alligator Crawl, 11 - Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now, 12 - Tea For Two, 13 - London Suite - I. Piccadilly, 14 - London Suite - II. Chelsea, 15 - London Suite - III. Soho, 16 - London Suite - IV. Bond Street, 17 - London Suite - V. Limehouse, 18 - London Suite - VI. Whitechapel, 19 - Rockin' Chair, 20 - Ring Dem Bells,
1 - Ain't Misbehavin', 2 - Gladyse (Take 1), 3 - Gladyse (Take 2), 4 - Goin' About (Take 1), 5 - Goin' About (Take 2), 6 - My Feelings Are Hurt, 7 - Alligator Crawl, 8 - Clothesline Ballet, 9 - Down Home Blues, 10 - Honeysuckle Rose, 11 - E-Flat Blues, 12 - Zonky, 13 - Blue, Turning Grey Over You, 14 - Russian Fantasy, 15 - Stardust, 16 - Basin Street Blues, 17 - I Ain't Got Nobody, 18 - Poor Butterfly, 19 - Saint Louis Blues, 20 - Georgia On My Mind,