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Podcast: Exploring Black Music

Podcast: Exploring Black Music

The Center for Black Music Research presents a series of podcasts exploring concert, sacred, and all forms of popular musics in black music history from the sixteenth century to the present day. New episodes appear each month.

Users of Apple's iTunes software can click the left button below to subscribe; others should copy the link location from the right button and paste it into the appropriate field of their podcast-fetching program.


Episode 27: Mary Watkins’s Five Movements in Color (from the Recorded Music of the African Diaspora Series)

March 23, 2012: This podcast highlights Watkins’s contribution to the first volume of our Recorded Music of the African Diaspora series. The work is conducted by Leslie B. Dunner.
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Recordings:
Mary D. Watkins, Olly W. Wilson. Recorded Music of the African Diaspora, Albany Records TROY1200, 2011. Purchase from Albany Records


Episode 26: Olly Wilson’s Of Visions and Truth (from the Recorded Music of the African Diaspora Series)

February 8, 2012: This podcast highlights Wilson’s contribution to the first volume of our Recorded Music of the African Diaspora series. The featured vocalists are baritone Donnie Ray Albert, mezzo-soprano Bonita Hyman, and tenor Roderick Dixon, and the work is conducted by Kirk Smith.
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Recordings:
Mary D. Watkins, Olly W. Wilson. Recorded Music of the African Diaspora, Albany Records TROY1200, 2011. Purchase from Albany Records


Episode 25: Nonverbal Tropes (part 2)

November 2, 2011: This is the second of two episodes that explore a suggestion that blues emblems may actually function as non-verbal tropes and discusses the ways those pitch and formal schemes surface in non-blues contexts. Jazz, neo-soul, and gospel music will be highlighted in this discussion.
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Recordings:
Charles Mingus, Blues and Roots, Atlantic R2 75205, 1998.
Erykah Badu, Live, Universal Records UD-53109, 1997.
Twinkie Clark-Terrell. Twinkie Clark-Terrell Presents the Florida A&M University Gospel Choir, Crystal Rose CRD0127. 1995 (CD 2004).


Episode 24: Nonverbal Tropes (part 1)

August 4, 2011: This is the first of two episodes that explore a suggestion that blues emblems may actually function as non-verbal tropes and discusses the ways those pitch and formal schemes surface in non-blues contexts. The focus for this discussion is concert (“Classical”) music.
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Recordings:
William Grant Still, “Afro-American Symphony,” African Heritage Symphonic Series, Vol. 1, Cedille Records (2000)
Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, “Blue/s Forms,” Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson: A Celebration, Cedille Records (2005)
T. J. Anderson, “Variations on a Theme by M. B. Tolson,” Spectrum: New American Music, Vol. 5, Nonesuch (1974)


Episode 23: “Black Music and Spirituality” (part 3)

May 5, 2011: This is the third of three episodes featuring presentations given at a panel discussion on Black Music and Spirituality, which was sponsored by the Center for Black Music Research and took place in April 2010 as part of the Critical Encounters initiative at Columbia College Chicago. This episode offers highlights from a presentation by ethnomusicologist Melvin Butler, entitled “Transcending Performance/Performing Transcendence: Faith and Fact in Caribbeanist Ethnomusicolgy.”
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Episode 22: “Black Music and Spirituality” (part 2)

February 14, 2011: This is the second of three episodes featuring presentations given at a panel discussion on Black Music and Spirituality, which was sponsored by the Center for Black Music Research and took place in April 2010 as part of the Critical Encounters initiative at Columbia College Chicago. This episode offers highlights from a presentation by ethnomusicologist Emmett Price, entitled “The Spiritual Ethos of Black Music: Dealing Between the Genres,” which focused on issues of spirituality in hip hop.
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Episode 21: “Black Music and Spirituality” (part 1)

November 2, 2010: This is the first of three episodes featuring presentations given at a panel discussion on Black Music and Spirituality, which was sponsored by the Center for Black Music Research and took place in April 2010 as part of the Critical Encounters initiative at Columbia College Chicago. This episode offers highlights from a presentation by musicologist Tammy Kernodle: “Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit: Constructing a Black Woman’s Conversion Narrative in Jazz.”


Episode 20: “A Conversation with Wallace Cheatham, Composer” (part 2)

August 31, 2010: This is the second of a two-part episode that features highlights from a conversation with composer Wallace Cheatham. Among the themes touched upon are those of influence, social concerns, and commentaries on his works.
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Episode 19: “A Conversation with Wallace Cheatham, Composer” (part 1)

July 1, 2010: This episode is the first of a two-part episode that features highlights from a conversation with composer Wallace Cheatham. Among the themes touched upon are those of influence, social concerns, and commentaries on his works.
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Episode 18: “Gospel Meets Jazz” featuring Emmett G. Price III

May 5, 2010: This episode explores the intersections between jazz and gospel as realized by various “Gospel Jazz” artists of the past two decades. From reinterpretations of traditional classics to newly composed themes that border on the “smooth”, these intersections reveal intriguing parallels between the genres.

Recordings:

Johnson, Vernard. “Sweeping Through the City” from Sing Praises (World Class Gospel Records, 2001)
Rayford, Harold. “Speak to my Heart” from Soul Music (Tyscot Records, 1994)
Allen & Allen. “Jesus, The Mention of Your Name” from Love Sweet Love (Allen & Allen Music Group, 2001)
Tankard, Ben. “The Altar” from Play A Lil' Song For Me (Verity Records, 2003)
Whalum, Kirk. “Lord, I Want to be a Christian” from The Gospel According to Jazz (Word Entertainment, 1998)
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Episode 17: Thomas A. Dorsey

March 17, 2010: This episode provides an overview of the life and career of the pioneering gospel great, Thomas A. Dorsey. From the early influences of shouting preachers to his collaborations with Mahalia Jackson, this episode highlights significant events, songs, and figures in Dorsey’s life. For additional commentary on Dorsey, see Episode 14.

Recordings:

Dorsey, Thomas. Precious Lord: Recordings of the Great Gospel Songs of Thomas A. Dorsey. Columbia CK 57164, 1994.
“If You See My Savior”
“If We Never Needed the Lord Before”
“Search Me Lord”
Gospel: Negro Spirituals/Gospel Songs/1926-1942. Frémeaux et associés FA 008, 1993.
“Black Diamond Express to Hell”
Jackson, Mahalia. Gospels, Spirituals, and Hymns. Columbia C2K 65594, 1998.
“I'm Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song”

Quoted Sources:

Horace Clarence Boyer, “Thomas A. Dorsey, ‘Father of Gospel Music’: An Analysis of His Contrbutions,” Black World 23, no. 9 (1974): 23.
Christopher Brooks, “Thomas Andrew Dorsey,” in International Dictionary of Black Composers, Samuel A. Floyd, Jr. ed., Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1999, 392.
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Episode 16: The New Black Music Repertory Ensemble, part 2

January 15, 2010: This is the second of two episodes narrated by CBMR Deputy Director Morris Phibbs, based on a paper he presented at the 2008 CBMR National Conference on Black Music Research that explored ways in which the CBMR designs its performance program and ensembles. Both podcasts include medleys of performances by the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble that demonstrate the wide range of musical styles, genres, and periods that the CBMR presents to its audiences.
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Episode 15: The New Black Music Repertory Ensemble, part 1

November 30, 2009: This is the first of two episodes narrated by CBMR Deputy Director Morris Phibbs, based on a paper he presented at the 2008 CBMR National Conference on Black Music Research that explored ways in which the CBMR designs its performance program and ensembles. Both podcasts include medleys of performances by the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble that demonstrate the wide range of musical styles, genres, and periods that the CBMR presents to its audiences.
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Episode 14: Chicago Gospel: Innovators and Influence

September 22, 2009: This is the second installment of the two-part episode that features Chicago blues and gospel musicians. Included in this episode are gospel pioneers Thomas A. Dorsey, Roberta Martin, and the Thompson Community Singers (also known as the Tommies). A special highlight in this episode is Roberta Martin's piano performance on "God Is Still on the Throne."
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Episode 13: Chicago Blues: Innovators and Influence

August 18, 2009: This is the first of a two-part episode that features influential blues and gospel musicians from Chicago. Analytical comments on select songs and brief historical narratives aid our highlighting of three pivotal blues figures: Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Minnie, and Buddy Guy.
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Episode 12: The Mothership Connection

June 30, 2009: This episode is the final installment in a miniseries devoted to tropes in black music, with particular emphasis on the mothership and other extensions on tropes of transit such as the automobile and the river. The episode highlights songs by George Clinton, Erykah Badu, Sam Cooke, and others.
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Episode 11: Soul Trains

April 21, 2009: This episode is the second installment in a miniseries devoted to tropes in black music, with particular emphasis on the train and its realizations in soul music. The episode highlights songs by Gladys Knight, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, and others.
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Episode 10: Gospel Trains

March 17, 2009: This episode is an installment in a miniseries devoted to verbal tropes in black music, with particular emphasis on the train and its realizations in gospel music. This episode highlights songs by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the Golden Gate Quartet.
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Episode 9: Hip Hop Meets Jazz, featuring Emmett G. Price III

August 26, 2008: This episode explores the intersections between jazz and hip hop as realized by various hip hop artists of the past two decades. From vintage sound samples to lyrical evocations of jazz greats these intersections reveal intriguing parallels between the genres.
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Episode 8: Black Women Composers (Part Two)

July 15, 2008: This episode concludes a two-part series devoted to the works of black women composers. From concert settings to the expressive vocal pieces, the styles represented in this episode span the sounds of neo-romanticism to the soulful renderings of gospel, showing the versatility and craftsmanship of our featured composers. –Horace Maxile
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Episode 7: Black Women Composers (Part One)

May 21, 2008: This episode is the first of a two-part series devoted to the works of black women composers. From concert settings to the expressive vocal pieces, the styles represented in this episode span the sounds of neo-romanticism to the soulful renderings of gospel, showing the versatility and craftsmanship of our featured composers. –Horace Maxile
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Episode 6: Charles Mingus

March 23, 2008: This episode presents a brief biographical sketch of jazz composer/bassist Charles Mingus. Also highlighted are compositions featuring various stylistic influences from Duke Ellington to the church. –Horace Maxile
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Episode 5: Music for Strings

January 7, 2008: This episode features concerti and other works for string instruments by William Foster McDaniel, Frederick Tillis, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and José White. –Donald James
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Episode 4: Rags and Ragtime

December 3, 2007: This episode features performances of Scott Joplin's music by Earl Hines and by the composer himself via player-piano rolls, and works by James Reese Europe and James Sylvester Scott as performed by the Black Music Repertory Ensemble. –Donald James
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Episode 3: The Art of the Jazz Ensemble Composer

November 5, 2007: The third episode explores the music of Jelly Roll Morton and Duke Ellington, with attention to the interaction between composition and improvisation. This episode features performances by Ensemble Stop-Time and the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble. –Donald James
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Episode 2: Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson

October 1, 2007: The second episode is dedicated to the life and work of the composer Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004), with excerpts of performances by the New Black Repertory Ensemble of Perkinson's Blues Forms (1972) and Sinfonietta No. 1 (1954-1955). –Donald James
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Episode 1: Soul Music of the 1960s

September 3, 2007: The first episode follows the growth of soul music in the 1960s, with performances by Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett (right), Otis Redding, James Brown, The Supremes, and Aretha Franklin. –Donald James
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Horace Maxile

The podcast is currently written and narrated by Horace Maxile and produced by Laurie Lee Moses and Peter Shultz. The first five episodes were written and narrated by Donald James and produced by Andy Leach.


Donald James