This artist was born Franz Pressler in Vienna, Austria, where he spent most of his life and may have acquired the stage name of Fatty George with the help of double servings of apple strudel and goulash. The Fatty George recorded legacy, which can be nibbled on courtesy of about 50 recordings made over four decades beginning in the '40s, covers aspects of European history as well as ongoing developments in jazz itself. He starts out playing in clubs near the end of the Second World War for an audience of both American and Russian soldiers, his set list adhering to the enormously popular swing recipes of the era. A clarinetist, Fatty George originally modeled himself after Benny Goodman but subsequently became a bebop player under the banner of Charlie Parker. Fatty George also became involved in personally running nightclubs in both Germany and Austria, opening Fatty's Jazz Casino in Insbruck in the early '50s and Fatty's Saloon in Vienna in 1958. His Fatty George Jazzband performed throughout the European continent at both clubs and festivals and released a series of albums under his own name, including Two Sides of Fatty George and Fatty's Saloon. His playing partners often included the brothers Bill Grah and Heinz Grah on piano and trombone, respectively. ~ Eugene Chadbourne
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