Sometimes also known as "Papa Yellow", Tuts Washington was New Orleans through and through. He was born there in 1907 and was raised by his aunt who enthusiastically supported the development of his musical talents. Inspired by itinerant New Orleans musician Joseph Louis "Red" Cayou, Washington soon became proficient in the old barrelhouse-blues styles but his aunt was determined that he should have a wider repertoire, and he also learned to play pop, jazz, boogie and ragtime. He developed this repertoire by following the numerous brass bands playing on the streets of New Orleans, memorizing the tunes and then working out his own versions at home. He played with a number of famed New Orleans bandsmen such as Kid Rena and Kid Punch Miller over the course of his long career but he was 76 years old before the release of his first solo recording in 1983. In the late 1930’s he played in California, and during 1940’s he worked in the trio that backed blues singer Smiley Lewis. In 1950 he joined the Tab Smith Orchestra in St. Louis for a time, then returned to New Orleans playing with Oscar ‘Papa’ Celestin and then joining the Clyde Kerr Orchestra. He also frequently played on the Mississippi River on the ‘Delta Queen’ whilst continuing to perform at various musical landmarks in New Orleans such as the Court of Two Sisters Restaurant in the French Quarter, and the piano bar at the Caribbean Room of the Pontchartrain Hotel. Tuts Washington was a piano playing institution in New Orleans and he is frequently cited as one of the major influences on Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, James Booker, Dr. John, and Allen Toussaint, all of whom respected Washington and acknowledged his contribution to their styles. He was always reluctant to record and he was only finally persuaded to do so shortly before his death. He died in a manner which perhaps he might have wished, whilst performing on stage at the 1984 New Orleans World's Fair.