Jul 09

Ain’t Misbehavin!

On This Day (July 9) 90 years ago in 1929, “Fats” Waller’s classic “Ain’t Misbehavin'”  was recorded in New York City at the height of the ‘Roaring twenties’ for a Broadway musical comedy. Waller said the song was written while “lodging” in prison (for an alimony violation), and that is why he was not “misbehaving”.

Interestingly, in the play, Louis Armstrong played “Ain’t Misbehavin'” in a trumpet solo, and although this was initially slated only to be a reprise of the opening song, Armstrong’s performance was so well-received that he was asked to climb out of the orchestra pit and play the piece on stage.

Anyway, “Fats Waller” has always been one of my favorites. His innovations in the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano. His best-known compositions, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “Honeysuckle Rose”, have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.  

I’ve really gotten a lot of joy over the years playing this song and I hope you enjoy it also.  To qualify for a Weiss Music Minute it was necessary to speed it up a bit, but it still feels right, maybe a little on the fast side. But hey, it was at the height of the Roaring Twenties!!!!

This performance is dedicated to Bobbie W. and Scott V. Enjoy!

With Weiss Music Minutes I try to make the case that many complete musical songs or ideas can be fully expressed in 60 seconds or less.

Bosendorfer piano sound – For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I’ve ever owned!!