Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words From the Harlem Renaissance

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ayelet Prizant
The inspiring four-CD box set Rhapsodies in Black is positively bursting with legendary voices from the Harlem Renaissance, the great American artistic movement of the 1920s and '30s. Included here are 85 tracks featuring a vast array of artists, poets, musicians, and actors, who both perform original recordings and interpret the works of others. Contemporary musicians Quincy Jones, Branford Marsalis, Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish, Lou Rawls, Joshua Redman, and Ice-T give lively readings of poems by Harlem Renaissance principals such as Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Claude McKay, Arna Bontemps, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Actors Debbie Allen, Angela ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ayelet Prizant
The inspiring four-CD box set Rhapsodies in Black is positively bursting with legendary voices from the Harlem Renaissance, the great American artistic movement of the 1920s and '30s. Included here are 85 tracks featuring a vast array of artists, poets, musicians, and actors, who both perform original recordings and interpret the works of others. Contemporary musicians Quincy Jones, Branford Marsalis, Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish, Lou Rawls, Joshua Redman, and Ice-T give lively readings of poems by Harlem Renaissance principals such as Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Claude McKay, Arna Bontemps, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Actors Debbie Allen, Angela Bassett, Gregory Hines, Alfre Woodard, and LeVar Burton breathe life into Zora Neale Hurston, Helene Johnson, Leon Damas, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and W.E.B. Du Bois. The musical selections here are the real treat, however, with exemplary jazz, blues, and early R&B cuts from such celebrated artists as Duke Ellington, Ethel Waters, Eubie Blake, Mamie Smith, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, Sidney Bechet, and Benny Carter. In addition, the extensive booklet features a comprehensive timeline as well as biographical and historical information on the artists and the movement, plus reflections and remembrances from those who were there and those who have studied the era. In the booklet, mastering engineer Patrick Kraus describes the recordings as "windows into history," and Rhapsodies in Black is one colorful history lesson you're likely to enjoy and remember.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rhino's four-disc box set Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words From the Harlem Renaissance celebrates the Harlem of the '20s and '30s, when the city was thriving with creativity and brilliance, not just in music, but in literature, art, drama, and poetry. Rhino intends to recreate that time with Rhapsodies in Black, picking seminal recordings and augmenting them with poetry readings including selections read by such contemporary artists as Chuck D, Quincy Jones, Ice-T, LeVar Burton, Alfre Woodard, Angela Bassett, and Darius Rucker, plus a 100-page booklet filled with poetry, testimonials, and art. It all adds up to a lively history lesson that's nearly overwhelming in its scope. Part of the problem is that the poetry, no matter how terrific it is, winds up giving the music a context that's just slightly too scholarly, so it's hard to get totally immersed in the sound. But, that's part of the point: you're not supposed to be swallowed by the music, you're supposed to reflect on it and realize where it all came from, with the assistance of the words, both spoken and written. That does mean that Rhapsodies in Black isn't the kind of box set that you put on for pure listening pleasure, but it's useful nevertheless as an entry point to a thrilling era -- after all, it's hard not to get sucked in by the music of Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, Bessie Smith, Fletcher Henderson, Alberta Hunter, Ma Rainey, Louis Armstrong, Lonnie Johnson, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, and Sidney Bechet, among many others. Yes, Rhapsodies in Black is essentially a textbook of sorts and even if it never quite shakes that scholarly feel, it's nevertheless a useful and entertaining textbook.
New York Times - Ann Powers
Its four discs... fairly burst with delight.

Its four discs... fairly burst with delight.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/7/2000
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 081227987428
  • Catalog Number: 79874

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Negro Speaks of Rivers - Quincy Jones (0:45)
  2. 2 Cotton Club Stomp - Duke Ellington (2:18)
  3. 3 The Harlem Strut - James P. Johnson (2:33)
  4. 4 Brother Low Down - Bert Williams (2:51)
  5. 5 Letter from Aaron Douglas to Langston Hughes @@Wally "Famous" Amos (0:52)
  6. 6 There'll Be Some Changes Made - Ethel Waters (3:21)
  7. 7 Sounds of Africa - Eubie Blake (3:11)
  8. 8 Sweet Man O' Mine - Mamie Smith (3:15)
  9. 9 The Weary Blues - Branford Marsalis (1:27)
  10. 10 Blues Ain't Nothin' Else But! - Ida Cox (3:10)
  11. 11 Kansas City Main Blues - Clarence Williams' Blue Five (2:55)
  12. 12 Indianola @@Wilbur C Sweatman's Original Jazz Band (2:39)
  13. 13 Hard Hearted Hannah - Rosa Henderson (2:59)
  14. 14 Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem @@Angela Bassett (0:51)
  15. 15 St. Louis Blues - Bessie Smith (3:13)
  16. 16 Copenhagen - Fletcher Henderson (2:51)
  17. 17 Cake Walking Babies from Home - Clarence Williams' Blue Five (2:59)
  18. 18 Long Gone - Darius Rucker (0:58)
  19. 19 Railroad Blues - Trixie Smith (2:58)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Smoke, Lillies and Jade! - Carl Hancock Rux (1:54)
  2. 2 (Lookie, Lookie, Lookie) Here Comes Cookie - Cleo Brown (2:51)
  3. 3 Charleston - Paul Whiteman (2:41)
  4. 4 Chili Pepper - Fred Longshaw (2:47)
  5. 5 Lucy Long - Perry Bradford's Jazz Phools (2:51)
  6. 6 Chain Gang Blues - Ma Rainey (3:06)
  7. 7 Mother to Son - Sylvia Rhone (0:37)
  8. 8 Deep River - Paul Robeson (2:21)
  9. 9 East St. Louis Toodle-Oo - Duke Ellington (3:40)
  10. 10 Lazy Drag - Thomas Morris (2:59)
  11. 11 How It Feels to Be Colored Me - Debbie Allen (2:59)
  12. 12 Sengalese Stomp @@Savoy Bearcats (2:58)
  13. 13 After You've Gone - Paul Whiteman (3:04)
  14. 14 Dead Drunk Blues - Margaret Johnson (3:10)
  15. 15 No Images - Lou Rawls (0:18)
  16. 16 Woke up with the Blues in My Fingers - Lonnie Johnson (3:10)
  17. 17 Worried Blues - Gladys Bentley (2:44)
  18. 18 Humpty Dumpty - Frankie Trumbauer (3:02)
  19. 19 Ham and Eggs - Johnny Dunn (3:01)
  20. 20 Sugar - Alberta Hunter (3:19)
Disc 3
  1. 1 If We Must Die - Ice-T (0:50)
  2. 2 Honey, I'm All out and Down (3:13)
  3. 3 My Handy Man - Victoria Spivey (3:02)
  4. 4 Ain't Misbehavin' - Louis Armstrong (3:21)
  5. 5 A Handful of Riffs - Blind Willie Dunn (3:06)
  6. 6 Bright Boy Blues - Cecil Scott (3:08)
  7. 7 The Debt - Joshua Redman (0:28)
  8. 8 Harlem Fuss - Fats Waller (3:21)
  9. 9 Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out - Bessie Smith (2:57)
  10. 10 Fare Thee Honey Blues - James P. Johnson & His Orchestra (3:21)
  11. 11 Soon - Gregory Hines (0:30)
  12. 12 Smashing Thirds - Fats Waller (3:07)
  13. 13 Do Shuffle - Fess Williams (2:54)
  14. 14 Wherever There's a Will There's a Way - McKinney's Cotton Pickers (2:58)
  15. 15 Dee Blues - The Chocolate Dandies (2:56)
  16. 16 Odyssey of Big Boy - Chuck D (2:42)
  17. 17 Minnie the Moocher - Cab Calloway (3:09)
  18. 18 Panama - Luis Russell (3:18)
  19. 19 Royal Garden Blues (3:02)
  20. 20 America - August Wilson (0:52)
  21. 21 Jesus Gonna Make up My Dying Bed - Josh White (3:02)
Disc 4
  1. 1 I Want to Die While You Love Me - Alfre Woodard (0:49)
  2. 2 Stormy Weather - Ethel Waters (3:10)
  3. 3 Corrine, Corrina - Cab Calloway (3:03)
  4. 4 Sweetie Dear - Sidney Bechet (2:50)
  5. 5 The Damnation of Women - LeVar Burton (2:26)
  6. 6 Baby! - Duke Ellington (3:09)
  7. 7 Happy as the Day Is Long - Leo Reisman (2:24)
  8. 8 I Got Rhythm @@5 Spirits Of Rhythm (2:44)
  9. 9 Let's Get Together - Chick Webb (3:04)
  10. 10 Their Eyes Were Watching God @@Veronica Chambers (1:45)
  11. 11 Oh, Lady Be Good @@Buck & Bubbles (3:24)
  12. 12 Symphony in Riffs - Benny Carter (3:03)
  13. 13 Sendin' the Vipers - Mezz Mezzrow (2:57)
  14. 14 Down South Camp Meeting - Fletcher Henderson (3:00)
  15. 15 The Day Breakers - Coolio (0:16)
  16. 16 She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain - Tiny Bradshaw (2:43)
  17. 17 Minor Mania - Claude Hopkins (2:55)
  18. 18 Sensemay√° - Chant for Killing a Snake - Eartha Kitt (1:20)
  19. 19 Symphony in Black - Duke Ellington (9:27)
  20. 20 Echoes of Spring - Willie "The Lion" Smith (2:31)
  21. 21 (Lookie, Lookie, Lookie) Here Comes Cookie - Teddy Hill (3:03)
  22. 22 The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain - George Duke (1:48)
  23. 23 It Never Dawned on Me - Teddy Wilson (3:09)
  24. 24 Honey Dripper Blues - Georgia White (3:07)
  25. 25 I'm in the Mood for Love - Louis Armstrong (3:08)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Tiny Bradshaw Track Performer
Alberta Hunter Track Performer
Lonnie Johnson Track Performer
Lead Belly Track Performer
Bessie Smith Track Performer
Mamie Smith Track Performer
Victoria Spivey Track Performer
Josh White Track Performer
Eartha Kitt Track Performer
Paul Robeson Track Performer
Gregory Hines Track Performer
Lou Rawls Track Performer
Eubie Blake Track Performer
Cab Calloway Track Performer
The Chocolate Dandies Track Performer
Ida Cox Track Performer
George Duke Track Performer
Claude Hopkins Track Performer
Quincy Jones Track Performer
McKinney's Cotton Pickers Track Performer
Fats Waller Track Performer
Ethel Waters Track Performer
Paul Whiteman Track Performer
Teddy Wilson Track Performer
Luis Russell Track Performer
Adelaide Hall Track Performer
Ted Lewis Track Performer
Frankie Trumbauer Track Performer
Chick Webb Track Performer
Debbie Allen Track Performer
Harold Arlen Track Performer
Joshua Redman Track Performer
Ma Rainey Track Performer
Coolio Track Performer
Louis Armstrong Track Performer
Sidney Bechet Track Performer
Benny Carter Track Performer
Chuck D Track Performer
Duke Ellington Track Performer
Blind Willie Dunn Track Performer
Fletcher Henderson Track Performer
Teddy Hill Track Performer
Fred Longshaw Track Performer
Branford Marsalis Track Performer
Mezz Mezzrow Track Performer
Sylvia Rhone Track Performer
Cecil Scott Track Performer
Bert Williams Track Performer
Georgia White Track Performer
Gladys Bentley Track Performer
Thomas Morris Track Performer
Leo Reisman Track Performer
Johnny Dunn Track Performer
Cleo Brown Track Performer
Rosa Henderson Track Performer
Trixie Smith Track Performer
Clarence Williams' Blue Five Track Performer
Margaret Johnson Track Performer
Darius Rucker Track Performer
Carl Hancock Rux Track Performer
Fess Williams Track Performer
Technical Credits
Lonnie Johnson Composer
Lead Belly Composer
George Gershwin Composer
Eubie Blake Composer
James P. Johnson Composer
Eddie Lang Composer
Jelly Roll Morton Composer
Perry Bradford Composer
Irving Mills Composer
W.C. Handy Composer
Jimmy McHugh Composer
Don Redman Composer
Alan Lomax Composer
Ysaye Barnwell Composer
Benny Carter Composer
Hugh Brown Art Direction
Bo Chatmon Composer
James Cox Composer
Danny Davis Packaging
Dorothy Fields Composer
Don Frye Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
Barry Hansen Discographical Annotation
John A. Lomax Composer
Ted Myers Discographical Annotation
Mitchell Parish Composer
Cecil Scott Composer
Willie "The Lion" Smith Composer
Clarence Williams Composer
J. Mayo Williams Composer
Allen Lowe Discographical Annotation
Johnnie Bassett Creative Consultant
Maria Villar Art Direction
Rick Brodey Packaging
Larry Briers Composer
Maceo Pinkard Composer
Artie Matthews Composer
Sidney Mitchell Composer
Henry Troy Composer
Amy Dean Editorial Research
Edna Alexander Composer
Waring Cuney Composer
Daniel Goldmark Editorial Research
Chris Smith Composer
Javier Gonzalez Discographical Annotation
Traditional Composer
W. Benton Overstreet Composer
W.R. Calaway Composer
Billy Higgins Composer
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