All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

213

Various Artists: Rhapsodies In Black: Music And Words From The Harlem Renaissance

Mike Perciaccante By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Various Artists: Rhapsodies In Black: Music And Words From The Harlem Renaissance This collection is a four-star, four-CD set complete with a 100-page booklet that in itself could serve as a textbook of the Harlem Renaissance and the music that it spawned. Rhino has again created an innovative package. Rhapsodies In Black includes CDs tucked into graphically cool sleeves that feature the art and music of that Harlem Renaissance. These CD holders recreate the printed sheet music of the following songs: "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Railroad Blues," "Royal Garden Blues" and "Brother Low Down." They are visually stunning.

The recording compiled in this set are aurally stunning. Disc 1 is called Struttin' & Stridin' and it features poems by Langston Hughes (as read by Quincy Jones) as well as recording by Duke Ellington, Mamie Smith, Eubie Blake, Bessie Smith and Trixie Smith. Disc 2, called Testifyin' & Philosophyin' features tracks by Cleo Brown, Fed Longshore, Ma Rainey, Debbie Allen (reading "How It Feels To Be Colored" an essay by Zore Neagle Hurston), Alberta Hunter, Lonnie Johnson and Lou Rawls. Preachin' & Prayin' (disc 3) features Ted Lewis, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Leadbelly and Ice-T reading "If We Must Die," a poem by Claude McKay. Lustin' For Love & Life is disc 4. Disc 4 contains more essays by Hurston and Hughes as well as a poem read by Coolio and tracks by Cab Calloway, Ethel Waters, Benny Carter, Eartha Kitt and Sidney Bechet. If these names aren't all familiar, their music is (or it should be).

Musically this collections features some songs that everyone knows (regardless of age or skin color). These tracks include "St. Louis Blues," "Cotton Club Stomp" and "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo," as well as "Minnie the Moocher," "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Corrine Corrina." Each is a stand-out! I'll leave it to the adventuresome ones out there to figure out who sang or composed what.

Besides those famous tunes Rhapsodies in Black includes a whole lot of unearthed and wholly underappreciated gems. "Woke Up with Blues in My Fingers," "Wherever There's a Will, Baby." "Echoes Of Spring" and "Sounds Of Africa" are but a few.

This is a collection of fantastic music all with its basis in a musical revolution that came about in Harlem, but it could also have been in the Delta, in Chicago, in East St. Louis or Kansas City. Rhapsodies in Black is a compilation of music with a feeling...and no racial separation. Its just damn good music. Buy it, its a history lesson.


Track Listing: 85 Tracks.

Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Atlantic Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop For Jazz

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Boston Creative Jazz Scene 1970-1983
The Boston Creative...
Cultures Of Soul Records
2016
buy
Hungarian Noir
Hungarian Noir
Piranha
2016
buy
The New Basement Tapes: Lost on the River
The New Basement...
Harvest Records
2015
buy
I Never Meta Guitar Three
I Never Meta Guitar...
Clean Feed Records
2015
buy
Peru Boom: Bass, Bleeps & Bumps from Peru's Electronic Underground
Peru Boom: Bass,...
Tiger's Milk
2015
buy
Groove & Grind: Rare Soul 1963 - '73
Groove & Grind: Rare...
Rockbeat Records
2015
buy

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.