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The Essential Harry Belafonte

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Harry Belafonte's influence on pop music is much more far reaching then many realize, as he was one of the first performers to bring worldbeat rhythms to the U.S. charts in the postwar era. Born in Harlem, but spending a good part of his childhood in his mother's native Jamaica, Belafonte grew up straddling cultures and musical styles, and bridging perceived differences became his calling card as an entertainer. His silky smooth mixture of jazz, folk, pop, and art song, often with impossibly infectious West Indies-styled accompaniment, coupled with his charismatic good looks and easy, hip coolness and sharp racial and political sense meant he was never reduced to being a ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Harry Belafonte's influence on pop music is much more far reaching then many realize, as he was one of the first performers to bring worldbeat rhythms to the U.S. charts in the postwar era. Born in Harlem, but spending a good part of his childhood in his mother's native Jamaica, Belafonte grew up straddling cultures and musical styles, and bridging perceived differences became his calling card as an entertainer. His silky smooth mixture of jazz, folk, pop, and art song, often with impossibly infectious West Indies-styled accompaniment, coupled with his charismatic good looks and easy, hip coolness and sharp racial and political sense meant he was never reduced to being a mere commodity, even though he spent his whole career on major labels. This generous two-disc set both discs track in at over 70 minutes is the first affordable cross-label Belafonte collection to combine highlights from his stays at both the RCA and CBS labels, and the selections included here, spanning the years 1952 to 1977, were made by Belafonte himself. There's very little to quibble about although one wonders about including a live version of his biggest hit, "Banana Boat Song Day O," instead of the original single version, and this thoughtfully sequenced set is easily the best introduction to the full range of his work currently on the market. Highlights are many, but include a 20-year-old Bob Dylan sitting in on harmonica for 1962's "Midnight Special," a defining version of Irving Burgie's gorgeous "Jamaica Farewell" from 1956, the adventurous worldbeat arrangement of "Turn the World Around" from 1977, an emotionally balanced rendition of Pete Seeger's haunting "Those Three Were on My Mind" from 1967, and an irresistible horn-led version of "Jump in the Line" from 1966's Calypso in Brass album. Belafonte's versatility may surprise some casual listeners who are only familiar with "Day O," and this set underscores his unique ability to find pop success with artful and socially committed material. Innovative, intelligent, and unceasingly creative, Belafonte is long overdue for a critical reappraisal.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/4/2005
  • Label: Rca
  • UPC: 828766924220
  • Catalog Number: 69242
  • Sales rank: 19,695

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Harry Belafonte Primary Artist, Vocals
William Eaton Conductor
Tony Scott Flute, Leader
Ray Charles Choir, Chorus
Bob Dylan Harmonica
Maynard Ferguson Trumpet
Jimmy Giuffre Saxophone
Lena Horne Vocals
Mundell Lowe Guitar
Joe Venuti Marimbas
Pete Candoli Trumpet
Howard Johnson Tuba
Lou McGarity Trombone
Jay Berliner Guitar
Ralph MacDonald Percussion, Conga
Norma Zimmer Choir, Chorus
Si Zentner Trombone
Brock Peters Choir, Chorus
Lord Burgess Guitar
Victor Garber Saxophone
Eugene Wright Bass
Fred Jacobs Trumpet
Victor Arno Violin
Israel Baker Violin
Danny Barrajanos Bongos, Conga
Maurice Bialkin Cello
Ralph Brewster Choir, Chorus
Percy Brice Drums
Danny Cahn Trumpet
Ernie Calabria Guitar
Larry Campbell Vocals
Frantz Casseus Guitar
Francisco Centeno Bass
Vivian Cherry Vocals
Marion Childers Trumpet
Babe Clarke Alto Saxophone
Jack Dumont Saxophone
Bob Freedman Conductor
Harry Glickman Violin
Milt Grayson Vocals, Choir, Chorus
Lani Groves Vocals
Al Hall Bass
Hilda Harris Vocals
Henri René Leader
Hugo Winterhalter Leader
Jules Jacob Saxophone
Jimmy Jones Conductor
Norman Keenan Bass
Harry Klee Saxophone
Irv Kluger Drums
Scott Kuney Guitar
William (Billy) Lee Choir, Chorus
Jack Lesberg Bass
Yvonne Lewis Vocals
Keith Loving Guitar
Jane Martin Choir, Chorus
Kelly Martin Drums
Yolanda McCullough Vocals
Harry Melnikoff Violin
Brian Moore Keyboards
Bernie Parks Choir, Chorus
Romeo Penque Clarinet
Randy Peyton Quartet Vocals
Jack Pleis Piano
Dom Um Romão Percussion
Albertine Robinson Vocals
Claudio Roditi Trumpet
Mike Rubin Bass
Art Ryerson Guitar
William Salter Bass
Dom Salvador Keyboards
Eddie Sauter Leader
Al Schackman Guitar
Wilbur Schwartz Saxophone
Mauricio Smith Flute, Alto Saxophone
David Spinozza Guitar
Steve Thornton Bongos, Conga
Betty Wand Choir, Chorus
Joseph B. Wilder Trumpet
Raphael Boguslav Guitar
Ennio Bologinini Cello
William A. Glover Choir, Chorus
Theo M. Nash Saxophone
Thomas Parshley Flute
Sherman Sneed Choir, Chorus
Ray Kellogg Choir, Chorus
Eileen Wilson Choir, Chorus
Carl Prager Clarinet
Robert Stevens Choir, Chorus
Herman Alpert Bass
Sidney Brecher Viola
Alex Gershunoff Saxophone
Jack Greenberg Clarinet
Edward Kuczborski Trombone
Leopoldo Pineda Trombone
James Miller Choir, Chorus
Irving Burgie Choir, Chorus
Arnold Fishkind Bass
Frank Guerrero Bongos
Ralph Hunter Conductor
Charlie Margulis Trumpet
Stewart M. Bair Choir, Chorus
Dorothy McCarty Choir, Chorus
Gil Mershon Choir, Chorus
William F. "Bill" Reeve Choir, Chorus
Joseph Reilick Viola
Alan Sokoloff Choir, Chorus
Max Tartasky Violin
Murray Kane Choir, Chorus
John Nielsen Choir, Chorus
Gloria Turner Vocals
Miriam Workman Choir, Chorus
Cal Sexton Choir, Chorus
Buster Davis Piano
Frank Floyd Vocals
Ted Nash Saxophone
Charles Schroeder Choir, Chorus
Louis Singer Percussion
William Slater Bass
Mary Dean Choir, Chorus
Ada Beth Lee Choir, Chorus
Attilio DePalma French Horn
Jack Brown Choir, Chorus
Scott Gibson Choir, Chorus
Bill Eaton Leader
Melvin W. Edmondson Vocals
Audrey Marsh Choir, Chorus
Jose Rodrigues Trombone
Bob R. Hamlin Choir, Chorus
Bob Corman Conductor, Leader
Robert M. Rosengarden Drums
Jacqueline Allan Choir, Chorus
Donald Alpert Drums
James D. Hall Guitar
Virginia Rees Choir, Chorus
Francis L. "Joe" Howard Trombone
Gene Lanham Choir, Chorus
Marjorie Call Harp
Gilbert E. Adkins Choir, Chorus
Winslowe Daniel Barranjos Conga
Edwin Brown Oboe
Felix Buldrini Violin
Rudolfo Curbelo Drums
Faye Devlin Choir, Chorus
John DiJanni Viola
Wally Ferenz Conga
Nathan Foodman Drums
Stephen Harbachick Choir, Chorus
Jasha Herzog Violin
Jerome G. Kasin Violin
Martin Lake Cello
Mel Larned Choir, Chorus
Robert S. Levine Violin
Edwin Lindstroem Choir, Chorus
Donald Lipsey Trumpet
Arnold Manchester Percussion
Thora Mathiason Choir, Chorus
Elizabeth Mullner Choir, Chorus
Tony Parris Choir, Chorus
Frank Raye Choir, Chorus
Elizabeth Rinker Choir, Chorus
Noah Rodriguez Bongos
Earl Rogers Choir, Chorus
Gustave Rosseels Violin
E.C. Shank Saxophone
Herbert L. Stubbs Choir, Chorus
Leroy B. Thompson Choir, Chorus
Rodester Timmons Choir, Chorus
Robert Walker Choir, Chorus
Bobby Henson Choir, Chorus
Michael Tobas Drums
George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher Choir, Chorus
Howard Glover "Johnny" Johnson Tuba
Floria Agostini Harp
Irving D. Barnes Choir, Chorus
Paul Douglas Franklin Choir, Chorus
John Hailburton Trombone
Hal S. Hidley Piano
Pamela Kordan Vocals
Samuel R. McCurry Choir, Chorus
Harry Orlewitz Violin
Richard Pindle Choir, Chorus
Jorge Renan Guitar
Raphael Rosario Conga
Maxwell Smith Choir, Chorus
Mildred J. Thomas Guitar, Leader
Betty Volenec Vocals
C. Leon Bibb Choir, Chorus
Arthur Williams Vocals
Technical Credits
Odetta Composer
William Eaton Arranger
Harry Belafonte Arranger, Composer, Producer, Executive Producer
Norman Luboff Composer
Hugo Montenegro Arranger
Lord Burgess Composer
Bob Bollard Producer, Audio Production
Joe Carlton Producer
Dennis Farnon Producer
Bob Freedman Arranger
Robert Freedman Composer
Hy Grill Producer
Dave Kapp Producer
D. McLean Composer
Jack Pleis Producer
Phil Ramone Producer
Dom Salvador Orchestration
Mark Wilder Mastering
Andy Wiswell Producer
J. Segal Composer
H. "Hank" Thomas Composer
Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson Vocal Arrangements
Harvey Schmidt Composer
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
William Lorin Composer
Ashley Kahn Liner Notes
Bill Eaton Producer
Traditional Composer
T. Woods Composer
Tom Jones Composer
Bridget McGoldrick Packaging Manager
Edward O. Welker Producer
Maria Triana Mastering
C.C. Carter Composer
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