[JPL] gospel songs and spirituals by jazz musicians
eric-jackson at comcast.net
Wed Feb 16 12:42:03 EST 2011
On 02/16/2011 11:05 AM, Tom Reney wrote:
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The first religious music that the colonists sang here were Psalms. They
were usually sung very slowly but still they were used to open many of
the events held in the community.
Early in the 18th century, there was a Prrotestant revival here called
the Great Awakening. The Watts hymnal and John Wesley's hymnal (the
co-founder of the Methodist Church) arrived around that time and hymns
grew in popularity.
Late in the 18th century reports started turning up about African
American musical religious practices. Many of the white leaders of the
church were unhappy because African Americans were composing there own
songs and not singing what was in the hymnals. When they did sing songs
from the hymnals, they often added refrains so that everyone could join
in the singing.
In there gatherings, after formal worship, African American's would
perform the ring-shout. It was perhaps in the ring-shout that the
spirituals were born but they were very different than what we now think
of as African American Spirituals. In many ways, this was still African
music and many of the people who observed this said that they were
unable to notate what they were hearing. Sometimes this music is called
After the Civil War ended, Fisk University was established by the
Freedman's Bureau. It went through difficult financial times in the
early days. Many northerners who supported the idea of education for
black folks would not support Fisk because it was a liberal arts college
and they thought that black folks should have vocational training. In an
effort to raise money for the school, the treasurer, George White, who
was white incidentally, organized a vocal ensemble to rasise money for
the school. Based on a dream White had, the group became known as the
Fisk Jubilee Singers. This group Europeanized the spirituals when they
performed them, making them sound very different from the early
spirituals which contained improvisation in addition to the spontaneous
interjections that were absent from the Fisk style spirituals.
In 1871, the Fisk Jubilee Singers went on tour. That same year,
evangelist Dwight Moody and song leader Ira Sankey teamed up to spread
the religious word. They began to use a livelier type of music for
Sunday School and revival meetings. This music was called gospel music.
Te Pentecostal Movement also emerged about this time. They used a
variety of instruments in the church. Some even encouraged them to use
the music they had been listening to before they were Christians in an
effort to reach out to people. Arizona Dranes, a blind women, is said to
have been the first person to play piano on a gospel record. She even
recorded one very interesting instrumental called Crucifixtion.
At the beginning of the 20th century Charles Albert Tindley was
composing music in his church in Philly. He is often called the
grandfather of black gospel. A few years later, the son of a preacher
who had learned to play music in the church became attracted by
Atlanta's nightlife and so as a young man. Thomas A. Dorsey was an in
demand pianist. He went on to work and record with Ma Rainey. He even
had a hit or two recording under the name of Georgia Tom with Tampa Red.
When his wife died in child birth, he wrote what was perhaps his most
famous song, Take My Hand, Precious Lord. Dorsey went onto establish a
number of things for gospel music even though he had to fight opposition
from many church leaders who didn't like Dorsey introducing what they
thought of as a secular sound into the church.
Mon -Thurs 8 PM - Mid
Sunday 10 PM - Mid.
> Hymns, by jazz musicians, certainly!
> Thanks for the suggestions. Titles would be most helpful. I've got a
> pretty good memory bank of many of these recordings, so I'm looking for
> specifics wherever possible.
> I'll compile a list next week.
> On 2/16/2011 11:00 AM, eric jackson wrote:
>> **** Follow us at twitter.com/jazzweek ****
>> On 02/16/2011 10:09 AM, Tom Reney wrote:
>>> **** Follow us at twitter.com/jazzweek ****
>>> I'm putting together a database of jazz versions of gospel songs and
>>> spirituals, and I'd appreciate your suggestions.
>> Are you not including hymns? I ask because you didn't mention them.
>> Eric Jackson
>> WGBH Boston
>> Mon -Thurs 8 PM - Mid
>> Sunday 10 PM - Mid.
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