Another bell is tolling sadly today, Beloveds, the Rhythm Royal Duke of the High Split Fayard Nicholas, 91, has taken his act on the road for the last time. Nicolas died Tuesday, January 24, 2006 of pneumonia and complications arising from a stroke. The sphere is not nearly as sweet today.
In 1928, at the age of 14, Fayard, and his younger brother Harold age 7, made their Vaudeville debute as The Nicolas Brothers. During a career that lasted through the 1940's they astonished audiences from one side of the Cherryland to the other with their extraordinarily precision and gravity defying tap dance moves. They were the pulse of jazz dance itself. Their movie star looks and their consumate professionalism made the leap to film a conclusion forgone (and I mean gone!) Their signature move was a full split accomplished without using their hands to get to their feet again. This feat, performed on the silver screen, dropped the jaws of more audiences members than anyone could count. The Nicolas Brothers influenced legions of dancers including Fred Astaire, Gregory Hines and Savion Glover.They worked many gigs with His Lordship and the admiration was swingin'ly mutual. They dug Buckley's unpredictable nature and he dug their genius level talent.
Harold Nicolas took a cab in 2000 and no doubt Fayard and he are now working out the new steps for their debut gig for the cat in the rosy rockin' chair.
Many thanks to Oliver Trager for hipping us to this sad but signifigant riff.