The song of the day for Tuesday, April 5, 2016 is “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”
About This Song
Written in 1931 (with lyrics by Irving Mills), Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” was one of the first songs to use the word “swing” in the title and this song certainly defined what it meant to swing. Ellington recorded the song with Ivie Anderson on vocals and it was an immediate hit. It has been widely recorded since it was written and the song is a lot of fun to play and to listen to. Significant recordings include those by Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, Gigi Gryce, Tony Bennett and Thelonious Monk.
About This Version
Tony Bennett has recorded this song several times. I really enjoy this version from 1999 for Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool, which features an excellent arrangement by Ralph Burns.
“It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” as well as Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool, is available from iTunes.
And here are a couple of Duke Ellington versions. The first is, I believe, one the earliest recordings featuring Ivie Anderson:
And then there’s this masterpiece featuring Duke and Louis Armstrong from the 1961 Great Summit: