Spencer Williams

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Jazz pianist and composer Spencer Williams was born in New Orleans on October 14, 1889, studying at the local St. Charles University before relocating to Chicago in 1907. A decade later he was in New…
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Jazz pianist and composer Spencer Williams was born in New Orleans on October 14, 1889, studying at the local St. Charles University before relocating to Chicago in 1907. A decade later he was in New York City, teaming with Fats Waller to pen a handful of songs including 1918's "Squeeze Me"; the roll call of Williams' subsequent hits is most impressive, and includes jazz standards like "Basin Street Blues," "I Ain't Got Nobody," "Tishomingo Blues," "Everybody Loves My Baby," "Mahogany Hall Stomp," "Royal Garden Blues," "I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jelly Roll," "Fireworks," and "Shim-Me-Sha-Wobble." He traveled to Paris in 1925 and wrote for Josephine Baker and La Revue Negre; returning to the U.S. three years later, Williams later sang and played on sessions with Lonnie Johnson and Teddy Bunn. In 1936, he settled in England, collaborating with Benny Carter on "When Lights Are Low"; after spending the better part of the 1950s in Sweden, Williams returned stateside in 1957, dying in New York on July 14, 1965.