Thomas Waller loved music as a small boy; his mother Adeline was an excellent pianist and introduced her son to classical music. Young Thomas was an eager learner and he took her lessons to heart. He also wished to please his father Edward that was a minister of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. He played a Harmonium (which was basically a foot pedaled pipe organ used in small churches) for his father’s services as early as 10 years old.
Thomas Waller had a ravenous appetite and so the name ‘Fats’ was given him and it forever stuck. Fats loved the jazz music that was being created all around him and he learned the tunes by watching how piano rolls affected the keys on the piano. He would imitate what he saw. Because he was able to play quite well in his mid-teens he eventually began to play at large movie houses, where his other gifts developed as well. He was able to develop his sense of timing for humor as well. Continue reading