Memphis Slim/








Peter Chatman, also known as Memphis Slim, was the best known of two piano players that used that stage name, the other being Charles Davenport. Chatman was born in Memphis in 1915 where he developed a love for music at an early age. His father was a pastor in a local church where Chatman was exposed to a spiritual influence, but he also lived next door to a local honky-tonk bar which provided a contrasting influence! He taught himself piano at the age of 7, and at High School he learned to play bass in the school band. He started playing professionally at the age of 16 in juke joints, and in 1931 he left home to wander the southern states while working dance halls, juke joints and camps. In 1937, he moved to Chicago and started to use the name Memphis Slim. While there, he recorded with the Bluebird label in 1941, playing live gigs in the Chicago area as well. Throughout the forties and fifties, Slim worked and recorded in many places under many different labels. In the fifties, he ended up working at the famous Storyville Club in Boston, Mass. In the late 1950's he was introduced to Willie Dixon, whom he subsequently recorded with on the Bluesville label. In 1959, Slim played Carnegie Hall as well as the Newport Jazz Festival. He also went on tour with Willie Dixon in Europe for the next two years. Except for major blues/jazz events in the U.S., in his later years Slim played mostly around France, and he eventually officially moved to Europe, where he died in 1988 of kidney failure.