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Posts Tagged ‘Fats Waller’

Died On This Date (December 2, 2011) Bill Tapia / 103 Year Old Ukulele Legend

Posted by themusicsover on December 2, 2011

Bill Tapia
January 1, 1908 – December 2, 2011

Bill Tapia was arguably the greatest if not longest working ukulele player the world has ever known.  Born in Honolulu, HI, Tapia was only 10 when he was entertaining American troops who were stationed in Hawaii during WWI.  Before he knew it, Tapia was touring with vaudeville shows and playing on steam ships between Hawaii and the mainland.  When the ukulele became all the rage during the ’40s and ’50s, Tapia was the teacher to the stars, tutoring the likes of Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, and Elvis Presley.   He also played with such music luminaries as Fats Waller, Bing Crosby, and Billie Holiday.  Tapia moved to San Francisco following WWII and was more or less retired – outside of guitar teaching. Then in 2004, he launched his comeback at the age of 96!  He released an album of jazz and Hawaiian tunes later that year.  In 2001, Tapia celebrated his 100th birthday with a jazz concert which was recorded and later released.  He continued to tour until 2010.  Bill Tapia was 103 when he passed away on December 2, 2011.

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Live At the Warner Grand - The 100th Birthday Concert - Bill Tapia

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Died On This Date (October 21, 2011) Edmundo Ros / Famous Trinidadian Bandleader

Posted by themusicsover on October 21, 2011

Edmundo Ros
December 7, 1910 – October 21, 2011

Edmundo Ros was a Trinidad born but England based Latin jazz singer, musician and bandleader who came to prominence during the 1940s.  Ros’ first instrument of choice was the euphonium, a wind brass instrument, which he played in the Venezuelan Military Band from the late ’20s to late ’30s.  Soon after, he received a proper music education from London’s Royal Academy of Music.  It was during that time that he played a handful of recordings by Fats Waller.    In 1940, Ros formed a rumba band which eventually swelled to 16 musicians and was renamed Edmundo Ros and his Orchestra.  The band became very popular throughout Europe, playing for royalty and celebrities alike.  His 1949 78 record, “The Wedding Samba,” sold over 3 million copies, while his Rhythms Of The South LP of 1958 sold well over a million.  In all, Ros made more than 800 recordings throughout his career.  He also ran his own record label and one of London’s most popular nightclubs of its era.  Edmund Ross made his farewell performance in 1994, and passed away at 100 years old on October 21, 2011.

Thanks to Dan Del Fiorentino at NAMM for the assist.

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Edmundo Ros

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Died On This Date (July 31, 2008) Lee Young / Jazz Drummer

Posted by themusicsover on July 31, 2010

Lee Young
March 7, 1914 – July 31, 2008

Lee Young was a respected jazz drummer, record producer, and A&R man who is credited for discovering Steely Dan.  He was also the younger brother of famed jazz saxophonist, Lester Young.  Throughout his career, he’s played with Billie Holiday, Fats Waller, Lionel Hampton, and Benny Goodman.  He was the drummer in the Nat King Cole Trio during the ’50s.  Lee Young passed away in his home at the age of 94.

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Died On This Date (July 27, 2009) George Russell / Respected Modern Jazz Musician

Posted by themusicsover on July 27, 2010

George Russell
June 23, 1923 – July 27, 2009

georgeGeorge Russell was just seven years old when he walked on a stage for the first time and sang “Moon Over Miami” with Fats Waller.  Growing up to be a respected musician and theorist, he is said to have influenced Miles Davis and John Coltrane.  Throughout his career, he’s played with the likes of Benny Carter, Bill Evans, Art Pepper and Eric Dolphy.  Russell died of Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 86.

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Ezz-thetics (Keepnews Collection) [Bonus Track Version] - George Russell

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Died On This Date (December 15, 1943) Fats Waller / Influential Jazz Pianist

Posted by themusicsover on December 15, 2009

Thomas “Fats” Waller
May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943

Photo by Alan Fisher

Fats Waller was a jazz pianist and songwriter who came to prominence during the mid ’20s.  Over the course of his short career, he penned more than 400 songs, most notably, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” and “Squeeze Me.”  According to legend, Waller was in such demand as a performer that in 1926, he was taken at gunpoint while leaving a gig in Chicago.  The next thing he knew, he was brought to building that was housing a big party and forced to take a sit at the piano and play.  He quickly realized he was the entertainment for Al Capone’s birtheday party.  He supposedly played for the better part of three days and was rewarded with thousands of dollars in tips.  Waller continued to compose, record and tour well into the ’30s.   In December of 1943, he came down with pneumonia and died as a result of it at the age of 39.

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Fats Waller

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