Waller, Thomas "Fats"

1934 Harlem Opera House salary advance receipt signed by the popular songwriter, master of the stride piano

Price: $250.00

Description:
(1904-1943) American jazz pianist, organist, composer and comic entertainer. Master of stride piano, prolific songwriter of novelty swing tunes, one of the most popular performers of the 1920s-30s. Studied classical piano and organ as a child, learned stride piano style from legendary Harlem stride pianists James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith. Obtained 1st piano roll assignments and recordings for Okeh Records at 18. His singing, songwriting, and lovable, roguish stage personality sold hundreds of recordings for RCA Victor when much of society did not recognize jazz as "serious" music. His greatest success came with his own five- or six-piece combo, "Fats Waller and his Rhythm". Among his songs are "Squeeze Me" (1919), "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now", "Ain't Misbehavin'" (1929), "Blue Turning Grey Over You", "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling" (1929), "Honeysuckle Rose" (1929), "Jitterbug Waltz" (1930), “Your Feets Too Big” (1941), and “This Joint Is Jumpin'” (1942). For his hit Broadway show, "Hot Chocolates", he wrote "What Did I Do (To Be So Black and Blue)?" (1929) with lyricist Andy Razaf, a searing treatment of racism, black and white, which became a hit for Louis Armstrong. Appeared in several films most notably "Stormy Weather" (1943), released months before his death. His weight of nearly 300 pounds and perpetual drinking contributed to his premature death. Printed 3 ½ x 5 receipt completed in ink in unknown hand, (NYC), January 6 1934, receipt from Harlem Opera House for $5 advance on salary for week of Jan. 11, signed “Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller” in ink. Number “51” inked at top right corner. The Harlem Opera House at 209 West 125th Street, was opened by Oscar Hammerstein in 1889. In the 1930's it featured swing bands and then became a cinema - it was torn down in 1959 for a bowling alley.

Condition: Very good
Type:Document






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