Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fats Waller in Sormy Weather - "Ain't Misbehaving" (1943)

Fats Waller, legendary piano player, recorded this version of “Ain’t Misbehavin”’ for the 1943 film “stormy Weather.” I like this version even better than Billie Holidays because of the fun Mr. Waller is having in the performance.
“Ain’t Misbehavin’” is one of those older songs which crossed the bridge from blues to jazz before returning to its original format. There is also a great drum solo in this song  by Bob Rosen, who was from New York City.
Written by Fats Waller, collaborating with Harry Brooks on music and Andy Razaf  on lyrics, the song was first recorded in 1929. Waller’s original recording for Victor Records was later one of the highlights in the 1943 film “Stormy Weather.”  Eddie "Rochester" Anderson stated that Fats claimed the song had its origins while Fats was “lodging" in prison for back alimony; which is why he was not "misbehaving."

It has been recorded by most of the great jazz singers for the past 6 decades, including such luminaries as Anita O'Day, Billie Holiday, Eartha Kitt, Ella Fitzgerald, Django Reinhardt, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Kay Starr, Frankie Laine, Art Tatum, Sonny Stitt, Sam Cooke, Johnnie Ray, Sidney Bechet, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Elkie Brooks, to name a few.
With the success of the 1978 musical of the same name, came renewed interest this old favorite. “Ain't Misbehavin'” is a musical tribute to the artists of the Harlem Renaissance created by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr., with music by various composers and lyricists. It is named after the song by Fats Waller and his co-writers. Much of the action takes place in the Cotton Club, the premier nightclub in the 1920’s through the 1950’s. All of the best jazz acts in America performed there, creating a new genre known as “swing music” while they did. The show had a good run on Broadway, even being revived in 1988, and still touring today.

For the live film version of this song, go to

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