Editor, Webmaster: Phil Cartwright Editor@earlyjas.org
|In Tune -- by Bill Fuller
Additions, comments, corrections,
contributions to Bill Fuller %Earlyjas, or
Andy Razaf March 2009
Andrea Paul Razafkeriofo, we thank you for shortening you name to the much
easier to pronounce (and remember) Andy Razaf.
This long time musical partner of Fats Waller and others was the son of a
Madagascar nobleman and the nephew of the Queen of Madagascar, Ranavalona
III. He was born in Washington D.C. and educated in the public schools there.
His career as a lyricist began just after 1910, writing lyrics for nightclub musical
revues and for the “war bond drive” for the United States Treasury Department.
Occasionally recording as a singer, Andy’s real fame derived from his teaming up
with such composers as James P. Johnson, Eubie Blake, Paul Denniker, J.C.
Johnson and, especially, Thomas “Fats” Waller. He also had a hand in the
Broadway scores for the shows “Keep Shufflin’,” “Hot Chocolates,” and
“Blackbirds of 1930.” Razaf worked as a newspaper columnist in the 1950’s and
continued at that till his death in 1973. He wrote lyrics for such tunes as:
HONEYSUCKLE ROSE – with Fats Waller in 1929 for Connie Immerman who
owned Connie’s Inn, a famous New York nightclub that maintained a $15 cover
charge which never seemed to deter throngs of customers. The first incarnation of
this title had both words and music by Andy Razaf and was written for the show
“Creole Follies” at the Club Alabam in New York in 1924. The new tune was
recycled from it with music by Fats Waller. It was to be a tap-dance routine at
Connie’s for his show “Load of Coal.” Razaf composed the verse over the
telephone. The tune never really caught on till the 30’s. Waller himself never
recorded it till 1934. Louis Armstrong recorded it in 1938. The 1940, 20th Century
Fox film, “Tin Pan Alley” depicted two white men in jail composing “Honeysuckle
Rose,” which, of course, enraged Razaf.
LOUISIANA – written in 1927 with J.C. Johnson who also wrote “Dusky
Stevedore” and “Believe It, Beloved.” It was popularized by Paul Whiteman and
His Orchestra with a vocal by The Rhythm Boys (Harry Barris, Al Rinker and Bing
Crosby). It was revived in 1940 by the Count Basie Orchestra.
KEEPING OUT OF MISCHIEF NOW – with Fats Waller in 1932. It was
popularized by Fats Waller and His Rhythm and was later recorded by both Louis
Armstrong and the Coon-Sanders Orchestra.
AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ – with Fats Waller in 1929. It was introduced by Louis
Armstrong in the show “Hot Chocolates” and it became Waller’s theme song. It is
said that Waller wrote the tune in 45 minutes with the aid of Razaf and a jug of gin.
BLACK AND BLUE – written with Fats Waller in 1929 for the show “Hot
Chocolates” at the strong request of gangster Dutch Schultz who wanted a
“funny” song about a dark skinned-woman in a scene that discovered her in an all
white room, in a white-sheeted bed. What Schultz got was a less-than-funny
statement on racism which could have proved “unhealthy” for Waller and Razaf
except that the show was a big hit.
RIMSHOT: to Earlyjas member, Regina Knapp, who, contributing to last month/s
"In Tune," points out that the huge, castle-like Casa Loma (house on the hill) Hotel
is in Toronto. Glen Gary's band played an eight-month gig there in the late 20's,
but the place was so big the band couldn't attract enough people to keep it going.
|Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization