Thomas Wright Waller, 21 May 1904, Waverley, New York, USA, d. 15 December 1943, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Influenced by his grandfather, a violinist, and his mother, Waller was playing piano at students concerts and organ in his fathers church by the time he was 10 years old. In 1918, while still in high school, he was asked to fill in for the regular organist at the Lincoln Theatre, and subsequently gained a permanent seat at the Wurlitzer Grand. A year later he won a talent contest, playing ragtime pianist James P. Johnsons Carolina Shout. While a protégé of Johnsons, Waller adopted the Harlem stride style of piano playing, the swinging left hand, emphasizing tenths on the bass, to which Waller added his own distinctive touch.
In 1919, while on tour as a vaudeville pianist, Waller composed Boston Blues which, when the title was later changed to Squeeze...
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