January 14, 2009

Bedtime Music: Rak Bela Combo - It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

Sorry about the lack of a video for last night's Bedtime Music; I was quite busy yesterday.

Tonight's video is of the
Duke Ellington classic, It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing). The song was written in 1932, three years before the birth of the Swing Era. The title was based on the oft-stated credo of Ellington's former trumpeter Bubber Miley, who was dying of tuberculosis. According to Ellington, the song became famous "as the expression of a sentiment which prevailed among jazz musicians at the time."

This particular cover of the song is performed by the
Rak Bela Combo, a trio of guitarists: Bela Rak Jr., Bela Rak Sr., and bassist Kristof Gelley. I like this video because it's a good example of the versatility of music in performance, in this case playing swing on acoustic guitars.

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