Little is known about Tuts Washington, other than that he was one of Fess’s earliest and most important teachers. He didn’t record much, although his piano playing on Smiley Lewis’ early hit “Tee-Nah-Nah” is/are three of the most glorious minutes in R&B history. (The song is also one of the progenitors of Longhair’s “Tipitina.”)

For years Tuts had a regular engagement playing piano at a bar in the Pontchartrain Hotel – and he performed regularly at Tipitina’s, the R&B club in New Orleans named after Fess’s song, in his declining years.

You can read a bit more about Tuts on Wikipedia, but the best way to find out about him is to watch the movie.

Tuts Washington Jazz Piano from a BBC TV documentary mid 1980s.

Tee-Nah-Nah by Smiley Lewis features Tuts.

Turn on Your Volue Baby by Smiley Lewis with Tuts


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