Once the king of the blues-derived "stride" school of jazz piano, Fats Waller earned his reputation as the most perfect of all jazz pianists with impeccable time keeping, instrumental mastery, the intensity of swing, and melodic gift. He arrived on the scene just as jazz was flowering nationwide, and he reaped a harvest of fame and fortune through his piano rolls, recordings, and much-lauded European tours. His death . . . in 1943, marked the end of the swing era. This informal narrative of Waller's life and music,a moving memoir of a musical genius and an outstanding human being,was written by Fats' personal manager. Reviewing Fats' brief but stellar career, Kirkeby reveals a life that was filled with paradoxes, and a man who moved with ease from a middle-class churchgoing home to New York's speakeasy subculture. Kirkeby details Waller's collaboration with lyricist Andy Razaf his friendships with James P. Johnson, Willie "the Lion" Smith, and Duke Ellington and his successful forays into films and Broadway musicals, including Hot Chocolates and Stormy Weather (with Lena Horne). He also weaves in his own personal memoir and includes a selected discography listing the most representative Waller recordings.