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Keith Nichols is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on Classic Jazz and Ragtime, specializing in all older jazz piano styles, including Scott Joplin, James P. Johnson, Fats Waller and Duke Ellington.

Born in 1945, Keith took his first music lessons at five, both on piano and accordion, becoming Great Britain Junior Champion on that instrument in 1960. After graduating from the Guildhall School of Music, he turned professional, and toured for seven years with the jazz-comedy band, "Levity Lancers" in which he played piano, trombone and tuba.

From the early seventies, he has given regular ragtime concerts at London's South Bank, both as a soloist and with small groups.

He first visited the U.S.A. in 1976, as a member of Richard Sudhalter's New Paul Whiteman Orchestra, appearing in Philadelphia and New York's Carnegie Hall.

Recording credits include three solo albums for EMI, plus a host of others for Decca, including one with Bing Crosby. Since the mid-80's, he has been featured on more that twenty albums for the American "Stomp Off" label, both as bandleader and sideman.

In 1977, he formed the Midnite Follies Orchestra with arranger Alan Cohen and has written many arrangements and transcriptions in the 20's and 30's style, notably for the New York Jazz Repertory Company, the Smithsonian Institute Masterworks series, and the Pasadena Roof Orchestra.

Currently, Keith is freelance, performing all over the United Kingdom, Europe and America. His current concert projects include tributes to Fats Waller, Bix Beiderbecke, plus an ambitious chronological show, "Jazz Classics Revisited."

In 1990, he was invited by musical director Bob Wilber to play the piano part of Hoagy Carmichael on the soundtrack of the feature film, "Bix" recorded in Rome.

Keith Nichols continues to perform and record prolifically, as well as lecturing on Jazz History at the Royal Academy and Trinity Colleges. He has recreated the music of Fletcher Henderson on CD, plus a volume of rare Duke Ellington and Fats Waller pieces, and performed the music of Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert with the Royal Academy Big Band.

For this lunchtime concert, the outstanding pianist Keith Nichols, with his sextet,  capture not only the music of Fats Waller, one of the greatest pianists and composers jazz has ever known, but also the style and personality of the jazz world’s most exuberantly funny entertainer.

Fats Waller’s extraordinarily light and flexible touch allowed him to swing as hard as any pianist in his classic James P. Johnson-derived stride manner, with a powerful left hand.

As a composer and improviser, his melodic invention rarely flagged, and he contributed fistfuls of joyous yet paradoxically winsome songs like "Honeysuckle Rose," "Ain't Misbehavin,'" "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now," “ I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter” , “Your Feet’s Too Big” and the extraordinary "Jitterbug Waltz".

Keith Nichols, one of the foremost authorities and an in demand pianist specialising in all older piano styles, returns to Dean Street following several sold out Sunday lunchtime shows to play the music of Fats Waller supported by Andy Moon– trumpet, Trevor Whiting – clarinet & saxophones, Martin Wheatley – guitar, Louis Thomas – double bass & Lizzie Exell – drums.


Fats Waller was one of the greatest pianists and composers jazz has ever known, with the style and personality that made hime one of the  world’s most exuberantly funny entertainers.

Keith Nichols and the wonderful music of Fats Waller

Pizza Express, 10 Dean Street
London, W1D 3RW

Sunday 9th July
Performance starts 1:30pm



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I've heard a lot of pianists, but Keith Nichols plays the nearest to my father.
Maurice Waller, Fats Waller’s son