Ain’t Misbehavin’

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Ain’t Misbehavin’ (m. Thomas “Fats” Waller and Harry Brooks; w. Andy Razaf)

Excerpt from WICN.org’s  “Song of the Weekfeature:

Hot Feet, an all black musical revue with words and music by Andy Razaf and Thomas “Fats” Waller, opened at Connie’s Inn in February of 1929. Connie’s Inn, a Harlem nightclub owned by brothers George and Connie Immerman, was the chief competitor of the famous Cotton Club, and had similar elaborate floor shows, restrictive admission policies, and gangster involvement. New York Age, the nation’s leading black newspaper at that time and a vigorous opponent of racial discrimination and injustice, described Connie’s Inn as follows: “Immerman’s is opened to Slummers; Sports; “coke” addicts, and high rollers of the White race who come to Harlem to indulge in illicit and illegal recreations.” Later on Connie’s Inn did modify its whites only admission policy; black musicians were admitted to the club late at night after the white patrons had left.

In the racially segregated world of the 1920s Harlem nightclub scene, the revue Hot Feet was unique. Barry Singer, in his book Black and Blue, The Life and Lyrics of Andy Razaf, quotes the Pittsburgh Courier, “This is the first floor show of New York’s exclusive night clubs to be entirely the work of men of color….The Immerman brothers deserve great credit for having faith and vision enough to have given colored writers a chance to prove themselves capable of equaling and even excelling the previous work of their white contemporaries.” 

1929 recordings include those by the following artists:

  • Leo Reisman and His Orchestra, vocal: Lew Conrad
  • Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra
  • Irving Mills and His Hotsy Totsy Gang, vocal and dance: Bill Robinson
  • Gene Austin with Leonard Joy and His orchestra
  • Ruth Etting
  • Fats Waller (instrumental)

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Leo Reisman & his Orchestra 1929

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Audio Files

Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra — recorded 19 July 1929

Irving Mills and his Hotsy Totsy Gang: Ain’t Misbehavin’ (vocal, tap dancing by Bill Robinson)recorded 4 September 1929, NYC

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Fats Waller (date unknown) Waller released an instrumental version in 1929. This is a different, later, version with vocals by Waller.

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Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra –  recorded 24 June 1938, NYC. Armstrong had recorded one of the six 1929 hit versions.

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Fats Waller Ain’t Misbehavin’ the 1941 “Soundie”, a duet with Myra Johnson.

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Fats Waller in the film Stormy Weather (1943)

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Benny Goodman Sextet – 1945

The provider gives the following info and opinion:

The Legendary “Slipped Disc” Sextet from 1945-1946.

This 78rpm-record is played on my portable “His Master’s Voice” gramophone from 1938 (Serie 102c, with green leather case).

One of Benny Goodman’s greatest combos was the sextet that he led in 1945. With Red Norvo on vibes, either Teddy Wilson or Mel Powell on piano and the humming bass solos of Slam Stewart, this unit had a lot of personality and yet allowed Goodman to operate throughout as the lead voice. This used to be a highly enjoyable band. Great swing music from Benny Goodman who is heard throughout at his best.

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Nat King Cole Trio with vocal by Anita O’Day — recorded 26 May 1945, C.P. MacGregor Studios, Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles California — Nat Cole (piano), Oscar Moore (guitar), Johnny Miller (bass) with Anita O’Day (vocals).

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Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars* –  New York Town Hall Concert, 17 May 1947 — Louis Armstrong (trumpet, voc), Bobby Hackett (coronet), Jack Teagarden (trombone, voc), Peanuts Hucko (clarinet), Dick Cary (piano), Bob Haggart (bass), Sid Catlett or George Wettling (drums)

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Art Tatum 1949

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Art Tatum — undated live performance

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Johnny Hartman 1956

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Carmen McRae 1960

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* On “Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars”:

From Wikipedia

Following a highly successful small-group jazz concert at New York Town Hall on May 17, 1947, featuring Armstrong with trombonist/singer Jack Teagarden, Armstrong’s manager Joe Glaser dissolved the Armstrong big band on August 13, 1947 and established a six-piece small group featuring Armstrong with (initially) Teagarden, Earl Hines and other top swing and dixieland musicians, most of them ex-big band leaders. The new group was announced at the opening of Billy Berg’s Supper Club.

This group was called Louis Armstrong and his All Stars and included at various times Earl “Fatha” Hines, Barney Bigard, Edmond Hall, Jack Teagarden, Trummy Young, Arvell Shaw, Billy Kyle, Marty Napoleon, Big Sid Catlett, Cozy Cole, Tyree Glenn, Barrett Deems and the Filipino-American percussionist, Danny Barcelona. During this period, Armstrong made many recordings and appeared in over thirty films. He was the first jazz musician to appear on the cover of Time Magazine on February 21, 1949.

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