“I’m Confessin’” (also known as I’m Confessin’ That I Love You”) was a 1930 release with lyrics by Al Neiburg and music by Doc Daugherty and Ellis Reynolds. It is generally accepted that the music came from a 1929 song with different lyrics called “Lookin’ for Another Sweetie.” That song was credited to Chris Smith and Sterling Grant, and recorded by Fats Waller.
The first and most famous recording of “I’m Confessin’” was by the great jazz trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong. The song has become a jazz standard and has been recorded by dozens of other performers since, from Perry Como to K.D. Lang.
Byron Stripling, who sings the song in this segment, played Armstrong in the Broadway musical Satchmo. Stripling, whose trumpet and vocal style closely resemble Armstrong’s, continues to perform a musical tribute to the earlier performer.
1. Use this resource as part of a study of jazz and the Big Band era.
2. Play other versions of this song. (Some of the performers who have performed it are Louis Armstrong, Perry Como, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Doris Day, and K.D. Lang. You can find clips on YouTube.) Compare and contrast the different versions. What kind of difference does it make when the vocalist is male versus female? How do the moods and styles compare?
3. Play a recording or video of the song “Lookin’ for Another Sweetie” by Fats Waller (available on YouTube), generally accepted as an earlier version of the music for “I’m Confessin’” Is it the same music? Which lyrics are stronger? Why?
4. Discuss the idea of a “standard” in jazz or other music styles. A “standard” is a composition that is widely known by both musicians and fans and is an important part of the musical repertoire. Have students discuss why a composition might become a standard. What are other jazz standards? What songs are standards in other styles of music such as rock and country?
5. Byron Stripling, who sings the song in this segment, played Louis Armstrong in the Broadway musical Satchmo. Watch videos of Armstrong. Was Stripling a good choice to portray him? Why?