Black Manhattan, Vol. 3
Liner Notes   Cat. No. 80795     Release Date: 2017-11-10

The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra; Rick Benjamin, director
Janai Brugger, soprano; Andrea Jones, soprano; Chauncey Packer, tenor; Edward Pleasant, baritone

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

* * *

"Once again, Rick Benjamin and The PRO offer a carefully curated project ... shedding light on lesser known composers and works, and advancing the study of American music.” —Black Grooves

"Throughout their performance, the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra channels the work’s bluesy effervescence." —The New York Times

The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra

Black Manhattan, Vol. 3

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

Pork & Beans Rag
Charles Luckeyth (Luckey) Roberts
Buy
I'm Just Wild About Harry
Eubie Blake
Buy
The Dancing Deacon: Clef Club Fox-Trot
Frederick M. Bryan
Buy
Jewel of the Big Blue Nile
Charles Luckeyth (Luckey) Roberts
Buy
We'll Raise the Roof To-Night
Sydney Perrin
Buy
Chant From the Bandana Sketches
Clarence Cameron White
Buy
Dear Old Southland
J. Turner Layton
Buy
Wall Street 'Rag'
Scott Joplin
Buy
Oh Dem Golden Slippers
James Bland
Buy
In the Baggage Coach Ahead
Gussie L. Davis
Buy
Love Will Find a Way
Eubie Sissle
Buy
Overture to My Friend from Kentucky
J. Leubrie Hill
Buy
Royal Garden Blues
Spencer Williams
Buy
The Tremolo Trot
Charles Luckeyth (Luckey) Roberts
Buy
Just One Word of Consolation
Tom Lemonier
Buy
After You've Gone
J. Turner Layton
Buy
Delicioso: Tango Aristocratico
Will H. Dixon
Buy
The Zoo-Step
Clarence G. Wilson
Buy
The Slow Drag Blues
William Grant Snowden
Buy
Ianthia March
Al Johns
Buy
I'm Goin' Home
Clarence Cameron White
Buy
Lift Every Voice and Sing: National Negro Hymn
J. Rosamond Johnson
Buy