Ain’t Misbehavin’ was composed by Fats Waller and Harry Brooks with lyrics by Andy Razaf in 1929. It’s an early swing tune with the 32 bar AABA structure.
The song was the opening number of the all-black musical revue “Hot Chocolates” at Connie’s Inn in Harlem. It was such a success that it moved onto Broadway, premiering at the Hudson Theatre on June 20, 1929, and running for 219 performances.
Ain’t Misbehavin’ has become a jazz standard.
Albert Nicholas (May 27, 1900, New Orleans, Louisiana – Sept. 3, 1973, Basel, Switzerland) was mainly playing clarinet.
He studied with Lorenzo Tio, Jr. in New Orleans. Still a teenager, he in the 1910s with Buddy Petit, King Oliver, and Manuel Perez. After three years in the Merchant Marines and then joined King Oliver in Chicago and played ther from 1925 to 1927, recording with Oliver’s Dixie Syncopators.
After spending one year in East Asia and Egypt, he returned to New York City in 1928 and joined Luis Russell for five years. He also played there with Red Allen, Charlie Holmes, and J.C. Higginbotham.
In 1937, he rejoined Louis Russell with the Louis Armstrong Orchestra, playing until 1939. In the same year, her was recording with Jelly Roll Morton (Nicholas already recorded with Morton in 1929).
Then in 1941, when there was not much work as musician, he took a job as a guard on the New York Subway. With the Dixieland revival of the late 1940s, he returned to music in 1945, playing with Art Hodes, Bunk Johnson and Kid Ory. In 1948, he had a regular gig with Ralph Sutton.
Following Sidney Bechet’s example, Nicolas moved in 1953 to France (returning to the U.S. for recording sessions in 1959 and 1960) where he remained for the rest 20 years of his life.
Live In Baden Switzerland in 1969
If you can, buy the full album. Every single song is great for swing dancing – slow or fast. Or just download the light-footed version of Ain’t Misbehavin’, not too slow but very relaxed.
What do you think about this version? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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