ALBUM DETAILS

Black Manhattan, Vol. 3

Composer(s): C. Luckeyth “Luckey” Roberts, Eubie Blake, Frederick M. Bryan, Sidney Perrin, Clarence Cameron White, J. Turner Layton, Scott Joplin, James A. Bland, Augustus L. Davis, J. Leubrie Hill, Clarence Williams, Spencer Williams, Tom Lemonier, Will H. Dixon, Clarence G. Wilson, Q. Roscoe Snowden, Al. Johns, J. Rosamond Johnson, James Weldon Johnson
Album Title: Black Manhattan, Vol. 3 
Cat. No.: 80795
Genre: Jazz / Jazz
Release Date: 11/2017
 
Description: Download Album (Lossless - $9.99)

The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra
Rick Benjamin, director

Janai Brugger, soprano; Andrea Jones, soprano;
Chauncey Packer, tenor; Edward Pleasant, baritone


Learn more and hear samples of this album
at New World Record's Paragon Ragtime page.


This is the third volume of Paragon Ragtime Orchestra recordings documenting the music of important African-American composers from late 19th- and early 20th-century New York City. The inspiration for this effort came about twenty-five years ago, when I read James Weldon Johnson's Black Manhattan (1930), a fascinating chronicle of the city's black artistic life from the Victorian era to the Harlem Renaissance. I came to Johnson's volume after finishing Eileen Southern's The Music of Black Americans (1971), a wider-ranging academic work, but a no less revealing one. After reading these books I was excited to listen to the music they had described. But this was problematic: I discovered remarkably few available recordings of historic African-American music, and even fewer to represent New York's pioneering black composers. This inability to actually experience a considerable span of our musical heritage was a void that needed to be filled. Clearly it was time for a carefully curated new recording of first-rate performances played from authentic scores.

 Fifteen years and three Black Manhattan volumes later,  [the first was issued in 2003], we have recorded three and a half hours of this previously neglected music: sixty pieces by thirty-two outstanding African-American composers, spanning the seminal years of the 1870s to the early 1920s. It is our hope that these efforts have started to close this gap in America's cultural memory. Our even greater hope is that these recordings will enable the world to rediscover this magnificent music and the gifted, spirited, and persevering people who gave it to us.   
- Rick Benjamin, conductor, Paragon Ragtime Orchestra 

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