Black Music

Harlem Renaissance: The Making of American Music

April 11, 2010
Harlem Renaissance: The Making of American Music

As has been well documented, in the second decade of the twentieth century, a section of New York City called Harlem became the Mecca and magnet for the coming of age of African Americans. The synergistic and cross-pollination of literature, art and music, informed by a general aesthetic ethos, produced the foundation for America’s...
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Marvin Gaye What's Going On: Soundtrack of America

March 6, 2010
Marvin Gaye What's Going On: Soundtrack of America

What’s Going On is not only Marvin Gaye’s masterpiece; it was a ground breaking album for Motown and for music in general. Gaye had been affected by what he had seen and heard in Vietnam and wanted to take his sound in a new direction, using it to inform and motivate people to act....
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Miles Davis Kind of Blue: The Album That Changed Jazz

March 6, 2010
Miles Davis Kind of Blue: The Album That Changed Jazz

Since it hit the airwaves half a century ago, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis has influenced the hearts and minds of jazz fans everywhere. Its songs became instant classics, and it has also converted many a non jazz fan to appreciate the subtlety and complexity of this masterpiece. Kind of Blue has also...
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John Coltrane's Signature Statement: A Love Supreme

March 6, 2010
John Coltrane's Signature Statement: A Love Supreme

Surely, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme has relevance today and carries a message which speaks to the necessity of improving the human condition through elevated consciousness and practice. Coltrane produced a musical statement which tapped into the spiritual consciousness of a broad range of people- student and worker, white and black, religious and non...
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Louis Armstrong West End Blues: The Birth of Modern Jazz

March 6, 2010
Louis Armstrong West End Blues: The Birth of Modern Jazz

Everyday, somewhere, a trumpet or cornet player tries to render an emulation of Louis Armstrong playing the West End Blues. West End Blues is one of the most famous recordings in the history of jazz for the following reasons: 1) Armstrong’s introduction showed how dazzling his skills as a trumpeter were; 2) he laid...
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Billie Holiday Strange Fruit: Anthem of the Anti-Lynching Movement

March 6, 2010
Billie Holiday Strange Fruit: Anthem of the Anti-Lynching Movement

As Reconstruction passed into the Jim Crow Era, predominately African-American music such as jazz and blues evolved. This music explored and reflected the lived experience of African-Americans in America. This music also began advocating for social change. Songs that promoted social activism were rare before the mid 1960s. One of the earliest of these...
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Aretha Franklin: The Soul of America

March 6, 2010

Aretha Franklin – Respect Live 1967by chilavert Aretha Franklin, commonly referred to as “The Queen of Soul”, is one of the most influential singers of the twentieth century. In 2008, the American music magazine Rolling Stone ranked Franklin #1 on its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time. Franklin is one of the...
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Little Richard – Tutti Fruitti

March 6, 2010

Little Richard is considered a key figure in the transition from rhythm & blues to rock & roll in the 1950s. Little Richard’s reputation rests on a string of groundbreaking hit singles from 1955 through 1957, such as Tutti Frutti, Lucille and Long Tall Sally, which helped lay the foundation for rock and roll...
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James Brown: Reinventing American Popular Music

March 6, 2010

James Brown, known as “The Godfather of Soul, is recognized as one of the most influential figures in 20th century popular music. Brown was a pivotal force in the music industry. He left his mark on numerous artists and his music left its mark on the rhythms of American pop music and provided a...
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The King and Queen of Pop: Michael and Janet Jackson

March 6, 2010

In the early 1980s, Michael Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style influenced hip hop, pop and contemporary R&B artists. In 1982, Michael Jackson issued his second Epic album, Thriller. The album remained in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for 80 consecutive weeks and...
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