Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words From the Harlem Renaissance

Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words From the Harlem Renaissance

     
 
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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/07/2000
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227987428
catalogNumber:
79874

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. The Negro Speaks of Rivers
  2. Cotton Club Stomp
  3. The Harlem Strut
  4. Brother Low Down
  5. Letter from Aaron Douglas to Langston Hughes @@Wally "Famous" Amos
  6. There'll Be Some Changes Made
  7. Sounds of Africa
  8. Sweet Man O' Mine
  9. The Weary Blues
  10. Blues Ain't Nothin' Else But!
  11. Kansas City Main Blues
  12. Indianola @@Wilbur C Sweatman's Original Jazz Band
  13. Hard Hearted Hannah
  14. Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem @@Angela Bassett
  15. St. Louis Blues
  16. Copenhagen
  17. Cake Walking Babies from Home
  18. Long Gone
  19. Railroad Blues

Disc 2

  1. Smoke, Lillies and Jade!
  2. (Lookie, Lookie, Lookie) Here Comes Cookie
  3. Charleston
  4. Chili Pepper
  5. Lucy Long
  6. Chain Gang Blues
  7. Mother to Son
  8. Deep River
  9. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo
  10. Lazy Drag
  11. How It Feels to Be Colored Me
  12. Sengalese Stomp @@Savoy Bearcats
  13. After You've Gone
  14. Dead Drunk Blues
  15. No Images
  16. Woke up with the Blues in My Fingers
  17. Worried Blues
  18. Humpty Dumpty
  19. Ham and Eggs
  20. Sugar

Disc 3

  1. If We Must Die
  2. Honey, I'm All out and Down
  3. My Handy Man
  4. Ain't Misbehavin'
  5. A Handful of Riffs
  6. Bright Boy Blues
  7. The Debt
  8. Harlem Fuss
  9. Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
  10. Fare Thee Honey Blues
  11. Soon
  12. Smashing Thirds
  13. Do Shuffle
  14. Wherever There's a Will There's a Way
  15. Dee Blues
  16. Odyssey of Big Boy
  17. Minnie the Moocher
  18. Panama
  19. Royal Garden Blues
  20. America
  21. Jesus Gonna Make up My Dying Bed

Disc 4

  1. I Want to Die While You Love Me
  2. Stormy Weather
  3. Corrine, Corrina
  4. Sweetie Dear
  5. The Damnation of Women
  6. Baby!
  7. Happy as the Day Is Long
  8. I Got Rhythm @@5 Spirits Of Rhythm
  9. Let's Get Together
  10. Their Eyes Were Watching God @@Veronica Chambers
  11. Oh, Lady Be Good @@Buck & Bubbles
  12. Symphony in Riffs
  13. Sendin' the Vipers
  14. Down South Camp Meeting
  15. The Day Breakers
  16. She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain
  17. Minor Mania
  18. Sensemayá - Chant for Killing a Snake
  19. Symphony in Black
  20. Echoes of Spring
  21. (Lookie, Lookie, Lookie) Here Comes Cookie
  22. The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain
  23. It Never Dawned on Me
  24. Honey Dripper Blues
  25. I'm in the Mood for Love

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
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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