Fats Waller (1904–1943)

African-American pianist Fats Waller wrote such jazz standards as “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and earned fame for his comedic radio performances in the 1930s. Synopsis Born on May 21, 1904, in New York City, Fats Waller was influenced as a teenager by jazz great James P. Johnson. He proved a gifted piano player and songwriter, delivering such jazz standards as “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” In the 1930s, Waller’s fame … Continue reading Fats Waller (1904–1943)

Profile: Sarah Vaughan

Synopsis Born on March 27, 1924, in Newark, New Jersey, Sarah Vaughan grew up with a love of music and performing. Winning a talent competition held at Harlem’s Apollo Theater launched her singing career. She worked with bandleaders Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine before becoming a successful solo performer who commingled pop and jazz. At age 66, Vaughan died in Hidden Hills, California, on April … Continue reading Profile: Sarah Vaughan

Profile: Alvin Ailey

  Born in Texas in 1931, Alvin Ailey was a choreographer who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958. It was a hugely popular, multi-racial modern dance ensemble that popularized modern dance around the world thanks to extensive world tours. His most famous dance is Revelations, a celebratory study of religious spirit. Ailey received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1988. A year later, … Continue reading Profile: Alvin Ailey