The origins of the nickname “Fats” for jazz musicians can be traced back to the early 20th century, when many popular jazz performers were overweight. The moniker was initially used as a term of endearment, and was meant to convey a sense of affection and camaraderie among jazz musicians.
One of the earliest and most famous musicians to be called “Fats” was Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller, an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, and comedic entertainer. Born in 1904, Waller became one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians of his time, and was widely known for his virtuosic keyboard playing and his distinctive, good-natured personality.
Another notable jazz musician who went by the nickname “Fats” was Antoine Dominique “Fats” Domino, an American pianist and singer-songwriter who rose to prominence in the 1950s and 60s. Domino was known for his boogie-woogie and rhythm and blues music, and was one of the first musicians to bring the sound of New Orleans to the world stage. He recorded a string of hit songs, including “Ain’t That a Shame,” “Blueberry Hill,” and “Walking to New Orleans,” that became enduring favorites among fans of all ages.
The use of the nickname “Fats” extended beyond these two musicians and became a widespread practice among jazz musicians of the time. It was seen as a symbol of respect and recognition within the jazz community, and many musicians embraced it as their own personal moniker.
It is important to note that the use of the nickname “Fats” was not meant to be a negative or insulting term. On the contrary, it was often used with great affection and was a testament to the musicians’ popularity and influence within the jazz community.
In conclusion, jazz musicians were often called “Fats” due to the widespread practice of using the nickname as a term of endearment for overweight jazz performers in the early 20th century. The moniker became a symbol of respect and recognition within the jazz community, and was embraced by many musicians as their personal nickname.