Fats Waller was born in 1904 and died in 1943 following a bronchial illness, and other physical problems. During that short, colorful lifespan he successfully created many songs and recordings. He was a master of the piano and the organ, was friends with George Gershwin and other composer-pianists of his era, and loved entertaining an audience. By 1930, he was a well-established composer and pianist.
By 1940, Fats Waller had written numerous hit songs, had two major Broadway shows, had performed in movies and on radio, and was a popular figure among jazz artists. One of the great stride pianists with intricate stylings, he was in constant demand. He greatly influenced the style of jazz piano legend Art Tatum.
His many songs include among others, "Alligator Crawl," "Viper's Drag," and "Effervescent." Many CDs of his performances are available.
For further reading on this enduring jazz composer-pianist, there are many books available. Suggested reading: FATS WALLER: THE CHEERFUL LITTLE EARFUL by Alyn Shipton (2002), FATS WALLER: HIS LIFE AND TIMES by Joel Vance (1977), and FATS WALLER by Maurice Waller and Anthony Calabrese (1977).