Fate Marable

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Fate Marable
Birth name Fate Marable
Born December 2, 1890
Origin Paducah, Kentucky, U.S.
Died January 16, 1947
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Bandleader, musician
Instruments Piano
Associated acts Red Allen, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, Johnny Dodds

Fate Marable (December 2, 1890 – January 16, 1947) was an American jazz pianist and bandleader.


Marable was born in Paducah, Kentucky, and learned piano from his mother. At the age of 17, he began playing on the steam boats plying the Mississippi River. He soon became bandleader for boats on the Streckfus Line, which ran several paddlewheelers which held dances and excursions along the river from New Orleans, Louisiana to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Marable appreciated the new "jazz" sound being played by the New Orleans musicians, and the bulk of his band members were recruited from that city.

1920 advertisement for "Moonlight Cruises De Luxe" on a steamer at New Orleans which featured Marable's band.

Members of Marable's bands were expected to be able to play a wide variety of music, from hot numbers to light classics, both play by memory or ear and from sheet music, and above all to keep the dancers happy. Marable was a strict bandleader, demanding musical proficiency and rigid discipline from all his bandmembers, yet allowing them to develop their individual strong points. For instance, Louis Armstrong's gift for improvisation was recognised as such by Marable, and he allowed him to improvise his breaks rather than play them note for note. Marable's band served as an early musical education for many other players who would later become prominent in jazz, including Red Allen, Baby Dodds, Johnny Dodds, Pops Foster, Narvin Kimball, Al Morgan, Jimmy Blanton, Elbert Pee Wee Claybrook, Joe Poston (de), and Zutty Singleton.

In addition to piano and bandleading, Marable played the boats' steam calliope, a contraption that could be heard for miles up and down the river and poured down so much water from condensing steam that Marable performed wearing a raincoat and hood.

Fate Marable died of pneumonia in St. Louis, Missouri. He was 56 years old. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Paducah, Kentucky.

A young George Russell, later notable for formulating the Lydian Concept, grew up listening to Marable's music.[1]

Fate was a relative of the drummer Larance Marable.[2]


  1. ^ Pettinger, Peter (1998). Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings. Yale University Press. pp. 31–32. ISBN 0-300-07193-0. 
  2. ^ Interview, DAVID EASTLEE - LIVE FROM MR. B's

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