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David Joyner

pianist, organist, singer, and composer, was born Thomas Wright Waller in New York City, the fourth of five surviving children of Edward Waller and Adeline (maiden name unknown). Edward was a Baptist lay minister, and one of young Thomas's earliest musical experiences was playing harmonium for his father's street-corner sermons. Thomas's mother was deeply involved in music as well, and the family acquired a piano around 1910. Although Waller had formal musical instruction during his formative years, he was largely self-taught and indulged in a lot of musical experimentation.Thomas's development as a jazz pianist really began in 1920, when, upon the death of his mother, he moved in with the family of the pianist Russell Brooks and then with the Harlem stride piano master James Price Johnson Like his pianist contemporaries Waller had learned some aspects of ragtime and jazz style ...