Fats Heard

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The so-called "chubby hubby" backs away from the ice cream supply when he hears his wife approaching, a mundane scenario evoked by the name Fats Heard. Credits for this drummer also appear under Eugene…
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Artist Biography by

The so-called "chubby hubby" backs away from the ice cream supply when he hears his wife approaching, a mundane scenario evoked by the name Fats Heard. Credits for this drummer also appear under Eugene Heard and Eugene "Fats" Heard, obscuring the quite typical nickname with one of the more eloquent, beautiful given names available to mankind. Although one of the lesser known of the players dubbed "Fats" in jazz, this artist actually provides the peaceful brush strokes on one of the most famous recordings in the genre, pianist Erroll Garner's original "Misty."

Heard may indeed have been heard by a huge audience as a result, yet obviously decided not to make performing his choice of lifestyles. Even in his early years as a player he dropped out for several years to become a television salesman; following the mid-'50s, he opted out of the superb Garner piano trio and went into various business enterprises in his hometown of Cleveland, OH. Eventually he bought into that city's Cotton Club, renamed it the Modern Jazz Room and booked a variety of big jazz names including his former boss Garner. Several famous live recordings were made at this club including the Modern Jazz Room Cleveland title by trombonist Jack Teagarden.

The drummer started out in music as a piano student at the Cleveland Institute of Music, moving up quickly according to sparse accounts of his activities to drum with tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. He worked with Garner from 1952 through 1955, earning praise from critics not only for his participation in the creation of the aforementioned standard but for the sheer amount of beautiful jazz tracked at various sessions, Garner's trio knocking out first-take wonders as if piling up steaming flapjacks. Bassist Wyatt Ruther and conga drummer Candido Camero made up the other half of the group on the sessions out of which floated "Misty." The Garner material basically dominates this drummer's discography but he also appears on a few Hampton collections.