• John Larkins

    Biography. Biography. John Larkins was a minor figure in black music in the early part of the 20th century. He ran "Jolly" John Larkin's Company and employed James Reese Europe as its musical director from 1906-07. In 1910 he produced and starred in A Trip to Africa. His other credits include Royal Sam (1911) and Deep Central (1932).

  • Maceo Pinkard, 1897-1962

    Biography. Biography. Composer Maceo Pinkard was born in Bluefield, West Virginia, in 1897. After his "Oh, You Darktown Regimental Band" was published in 1920 by the first black-owned music publishing company, Pace and Handy, Pinkard went on to write music for the shows Bon Bon Buddy, Jr. (1922), Liza (1922), and Broadway Rastus (1925 edition). He also composed several blues songs as well as ...

  • Bert Williams, 1874-1922

    Biography. Biography. Williams was also one of the most prolific black performers on recordings, making around 80 recordings from 1901-22. Indeed, his first recording sessions with George Walker for the Victor Company in 1901 are considered the first recordings by black performers for a major recording company. Williams signed with Columbia in 1906 and the majority of his recordings were with that company, including ...

  • Band Stocks

    Article. Article. African-American Band Music and Recordings, 1883-1923, provides instrumental parts for a representative sampling of the enormous body of published stock arrangements. The 1920s marked the beginning of the great era of popular song and of stock arrangement publishing. However, works published in 1923 and beyond remain under copyright protection. The public domain publications included here provide a valuable foundation for appreciating the ...

  • Bandana sketches: four Negro spirituals

    Instrumental parts | 74 p., 12 1/4 x 9 in. | Chant (Nobody knows de trouble I've seen)--Lament (I'm troubled in mind)--Slave song (Many thousand gone)--Negro dance (Sometimes I feel like a motherless child). (Content). Copyright MCMXXII by Carl Fischer, New York (Copyright). Printed in United States Military Band Journal No. 277 Instrumental Parts (Form).

    • Contributor: Carl Fischer - White, Clarence Cameron - Lake, M.L.
    • Original Format: Notated Music
    • Date: 1922

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  • Alton A. Adams

    Biography. Biography. Alton Augustus Adams, born in the Virgin Islands in 1889, remains an iconic figure there. When the United States took over the islands in 1917, the new governor appointed Adams chief musician. The band that Adams assembled entered the U.S. Navy as a unit, making Adams the first black bandmaster to serve in the U.S. Navy. He composed a great deal of ...

  • Gypsy blues

    Instrumental parts | 36 p., 7 x 5 in. | Parts: solo B-flat cornet (2), D-flat piccolo, C flute, E-flat clarinet, solo & 1st B-flat clarinets (2), 2nd B-flat clarinet, 3rd B-flat clarinet, oboe or C sax, bassoon, solo E-flat alto saxophone, B-flat soprano saxophone, E-flat alto saxophone, B-flat tenor saxophone, E-flat baritone saxophone, 1st B-flat cornet, 2nd & 3rd B-flat cornets (2), trombone ...

    • Contributor: M. Witmark & Sons - Blake, Eubie - Sissle, [Noble] - Trinkaus, Geo. J.
    • Original Format: Notated Music
    • Date: 1921
  • R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943)

    Biography. Dett was opposed to the style of "swinging the spirituals" that was becoming popular during the 1930s. He held a poll among his students at Bennett College regarding their opinions of the popular style. One of his students, reflecting Dett' s teaching, wrote: "I like the music, but I don't like the way it was sung. . . . I think it lowers ...

  • The junk man rag

    Instrumental parts | 26 p., 11 x 7 in. | Parts: piano, 1st and 2nd violins, viola, cello, bass, flute, 1st clarinet in A, oboe, bassoon, horns in F, 1st and 2nd cornets in A, trombone, drums. (Content). Copyr. MCMXIII by Jos, W. Stern & Co. N.Y. (Copyright). 10 blank pages. "One Step or Two Step." Instrumental Parts (Form).

    • Contributor: Jos. W. Stern & Co. - Roberts, C. Luckyeth - Tyers, William H.
    • Original Format: Notated Music
    • Date: 1913

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  • African American Performers on Early Sound Recordings, 1892-1916

    Article. Article. Mainspring Press http://www.mainspringpress.com/victorsales.htmlExternal

  • Swing Along!

    sound recording | 1 sound disc: 78 rpm, mono, 10 in. | Mx: 4420 -C Recorded in Jan., 1916. Sound Recording (Form).

    • Contributor: Edison - Cook, Will Marion - The Orpheus Male Chorus
    • Original Format: Audio Recordings
  • Billy Johnson, 1858-1916

    Biography. Biography. After a period in Chicago, where Johnson got married, dabbled in politics, wrote some songs, and appeared in the last Pekin Stock Company production, he returned to the New York stage around 1911. The last show he performed in was Twenty Miles from Home in 1914. Billy Johnson died in 1916 after a fall.

  • James Reese Europe, 1881-1919

    Biography. Biography. The impact of James Reese Europe on American music cannot be overestimated. Perhaps even more than Will Marion Cook, he shaped not only the music of his own time, but of future generations as well. His organizational accomplishments, far exceeding Cook's, prefigured the black-owned, black-run musical organizations that have existed since his time and to this day.

  • Clarence Cameron White, 1880-1960

    Biography. Biography. White remained active in music throughout his life. Among his positions were conductor of the Victorian Chamber Orchestra in Boston from 1916-20 and the Hampton Institute Choir upon Dett's retirement in 1933. White was director of music at West Virginia State College from 1924-31. He died in 1960, shortly after the completion and performance of his cantata, "Heritage."

  • In Dahomey

    Instrumental parts | 38 p., 11 x 7 in. | Parts: piano, 1st and 2nd violins, viola, cello, bass, flute or piccolo, 1st & 2nd clarinets in A, oboe, bassoon, horns in D, 1st and 2nd cornets in A, trombone, drums. (Content). Copyright 1903 by Sol Bloom, New York & Chicago. (Copyright). 17 blank pages. "Characteristic March & Cake Walk." Instrumental Parts (Form).

    • Contributor: Sol Bloom - Johns, Al - Saddler, Frank
    • Original Format: Notated Music
    • Date: 1903

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  • African-American Band Stocks

    Article. Article. All of these composers wrote hit music, heard in hotel restaurants as well as in the small-town bandstands of America. This music still retains its ability to delight.

  • Noble Sissle, 1889-1975

    Biography. Biography. Sissle also founded the Negro Actors Guild. Known as the unofficial mayor of Harlem, he died in December 1975.

  • George Walker, 1873-1911

    Biography. Biography. George Walker died on January 6, 1911. Lester Walton, in the New York Age of January 12, 1911, said, "George Walker was a talented artist, a fact which cannot be overlooked . . . Yet, the man was a dominating force in the theatrical world more because of the service he rendered the colored members of the profession, more because of the ...

    • Date: 1911-01-06
  • Maurice Arnold, 1865-1937

    Biography. Biography. Maurice Arnold was one of many African-American students of Antonin Dvorak during Dvorak's 1894 stay in the United States. Arnold participated in Dvorak's famous January 23, 1894, concert at the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. Arnold's four "American Plantation Dances" were performed at the conservatory and garnered him a small measure of fame. He was also the author of ...

    • Date: 1894-01-23
  • Chris Smith, 1879-1949

    Biography. Biography. Chris Smith "wrote songs that pointed to black folk styles," according to music historian Eileen Southern. One of his biggest hits, "Good Morning, Carrie," was recorded as early as 1901. Both black and white musicals of the first decade of the 20th century used many of his songs as "interpolations,"or extra songs not especially connected to the plot. Some interpolations were "He's ...

  • J. Rosamond Johnson (John Rosamond), 1873-1954

    Biography. Biography. When World War I broke out, Johnson received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 15th Regiment. After the war, he toured with his own groups, and even sang and played the part of a lawyer in the original production of Porgy and Bess in 1935. J. Rosamond Johnson died in New York City on November 11, 1954.

    • Date: 1954-11-11
  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, 1875-1912

    Biography. Biography. In England, Coleridge-Taylor continued an active life in music. He composed, taught at Trinity College of Music, conducted numerous choral societies, and even conducted in the famed Handel Society from 1904 until his death. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor died on September 1, 1912, of pneumonia contracted due to overwork.

    • Date: 1912-09-01
  • Horace Weston, 1825-1890

    Biography. Biography. One of Weston's principal champions was Samuel Swain Stewart, a proponent of the banjo, who published pieces by Weston and other banjo players. Among Weston's compositions are: "Horace Weston's Home Sweet Home," "Horace Weston's New Schottische," "Horace Weston's Old-Time Jig," "The Egyptian Fandango," and "Weston's Great Minor Jig."

  • Sidney Perrin

    Biography. Biography. Perrin also had a production company. Sid Perrin's High Flyers Company produced at least two shows--Show Folks (1920) and High Flyers (1921).

  • Will Accooe (d. 1904)

    Biography. Biography. Accooe also composed for other musicals. Williams and Walker's The Sons of Ham (1900) included some Accooe material. He also wrote a musical in 1901 with Will Marion Cook called The Cannibal King, but this was never staged.