Waller and the Musical Revue Hot Chocolates

Hot Feet, an all African-American musical revue with words and music by Razaf and Waller respectively, opened at Connie’s Inn in February of 1929. Connie’s Inn, a Harlem nightclub owned by brothers George and Connie Immerman, was the primary competitor of the famous Cotton Club, and had similar elaborate floor shows, restrictive admission policies, and purported ties to organized crime.

Hot Feet was considered to be one of the best floor shows to emerge from a Harlem nightclub and its success prompted the Immerman brothers to move it to Broadway, where the show opened at the Hudson Theater in June of 1929. They had renamed the revue Connie’s Hot Chocolates and asked Waller and Razaf to compose a few more numbers for the revamped show; these songs included “(What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue,” “Can’t We Get Together,” and the show’s most popular tune, “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

Irrespective of the critical and commercial success of  “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” it was the racially-charged “Black and Blue” that served as somewhat of an anthem of the cultural pride of the African-American community; the tune also highlights the one-and-only Louis Armstrong on trumpet and vocals.

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