March 8th, 2016 by INtoHarlem

Harlem Renaissance

The 2016 Harlem Whiskey Renaissance on March 25, 2016 seeks to celebrate the era of the Harlem Renaissance by providing an evening of music, performance, and of course, whiskey, that hearkens back to the era that gave us everything from Chick Webb to Claude McKay, Louis Armstrong to Zora Neal Hurston to Josephine Baker. We’ve lined up brands to pour whiskey from around the world and talk about the history of their spirits, with music provided by the Renaissance-inspired Dandy Wellington.

Most of the old speakeasies are long gone, but for one night at Mist Harlem, you can get a taste of the Harlem Renaissance along with several tastes of some of the best whiskies in the world.

TICKETS: http://www.harlemwhiskeyrenaissance.com/tickets

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January 13th, 2015 by HarlemGuy

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Protesters Aim to Save Harlems Historic Renaissance Ballroom from Demolition – Video: via Protesters Aim to Save Harlems Historic Renaissance Ballroom from Demolition – NY1.

“The Ballroom was completed in 1924 as part of a larger entertainment hub that included a bustling casino and 900-seat theatre.  Built and operated by black businessmen, the “Rennie” was the only upscale reception hall available to African Americans at the time.  Prize fights, concerts, dance marathons, film screenings, and stage acts were held at the Renaissance, along with elegant parties and meetings of the most influential social clubs and political organizations in Harlem.  The community’s elite gathered to dance the Charleston and the Black Bottom to live entertainment by the most renowned jazz musicians of the age.

“The nightspot even played host to the nation’s first all-black professional basketball team, also called the Harlem Renaissance, considered by some to be the best in the world in their day.  On game nights, portable hoops were erected on the dance floor, converting the ballroom into a stadium.  Following each game, almost invariably a victory for the Rens, a dance was held where players would mingle and jive with the choicest ladies of Harlem.  The team barnstormed in towns across the country, playing exhibition games in which coveted matches with white teams drew the largest crowds.  In their best season, the Renns set a record with 88 consecutive wins that has yet to be broken.”

-AbandonedNYC.com

 

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January 7th, 2014 by HarlemGuy

We love a good Google Doodle.  Today’s especially.  Featuring Zora Neale Hurston.

Brief BIO:

Zora Neale Hurston was an American folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance.

Born: January 7, 1891, Notasulga, AL
Died: January 28, 1960, Fort Pierce, FL

Awards: Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Musical

Plays: Mule Bone

Education: Columbia University, Barnard College, Howard University,Morgan State University

via Zora Neale Hurston – Google Search.

The Complete Stories (P.S.)


New From: $7.09 USD In Stock

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December 14th, 2013 by harlemhouse

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King of the stride, Fats Waller was a colorful comedic personality and jazz legend in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.  Waller was an influential pianist, composer, singer and comedic entertainer, whose innovations to the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano.  His best-known compositions, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Honeysuckle Rose were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame posthumously, in 1984 and 1999.

Fats Waller (Thomas Wright Waller), was born in New York City in 1904.  He started playing piano when he was six and by the age of fourteen he was playing the organ at Harlem’s Lincoln Theater.  Within twelve months he had written his first rag (ragtime) song.

By the age of fifteen he became a professional pianist, overcoming opposition from his clergyman father, working in cabarets and theaters.  Waller went on to become one of the most popular performers of his era, finding critical and commercial success in his homeland and in Europe.  He was also a prolific songwriter and many songs he wrote or co-wrote are still popular, such as “Honeysuckle Rose”, “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “Squeeze Me”.

He enjoyed success touring the United Kingdom and Ireland in the 1930s.  He appeared in one of the first BBC television broadcasts.  While in Britain, Waller also recorded a number of songs for EMI.  He appeared in several feature films and short subject films, most notably Stormy Weather  which you can view a video clip of below.  It was released in 1943 just months before his death.

Multi-talented Waller performed Bach organ pieces for small groups on occasion.  Waller influenced many pre-bop jazz pianists; Count Basie and Erroll Garner have both reanimated his hit songs (notably, “Ain’t Misbehavin'”).  In addition to his playing, Waller was known for his many quips during his performances.

Between 1926 and the end of 1927, Waller recorded a series of pipe organ solo records.  These represent the first time syncopated jazz compositions were ever performed on a full-sized church organ.

His final recording session was with an interracial group in Detroit, Michigan in 1943, that included trumpeter Don Hirleman.  Waller was returning to New York City from Los Angeles, after the smash success of Stormy Weather, and after a successful engagement at the Zanzibar Room, during which he had fallen ill.  He contracted pneumonia on a cross-country train trip near Kansas City, Missouri, where he died on December 15, 1943.  Coincidentally, as the train with the body of Waller stopped in Kansas City, so stopped a train with his dear friend Louis Armstrong on board.  Coincidence or providential?

More than 4,000 people attended his funeral in Harlem at the Abyssinian Baptist Church.  Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., delivered the eulogy, and said that Fats Waller “always played to a packed house.”

I highly recommend FATS WALLER “compilation” on iTunes.
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See below 2 Videos by Fats Waller.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Stormy Weather (1943) – FATS WALLER

I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter (1935) – FATS WALLER

Posted in Celebrity, Central Harlem, Community, Culture, Education, Entertainment, HarlemCondoLife, History, Music, New York City, Sunday Jazz Corner Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

October 13th, 2013 by harlemhouse

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Let’s go back in time to a different era and take a look at old Harlem with the sounds of Jazz vocalist Cab Calloway.  Born on December 25, 1907, in Rochester, New York, after a short period in Chicago he moved back to New York and landed a gig performing regularly at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club during the swing era.  In 1931 his song “Minnie the Moocher” became a hit and was considered to be one of the first recordings to ever feature scat singing.

Besides Calloway’s musical act, he also appeared on stage and in films.  During the 1930s and 1940s, he worked in such films as The Big Broadcast (1932), The Singing Kid (1936), and Stormy Weather(1943).  Calloway spent two years in the cast of a revival of the musical Porgy and Bess, beginning in 1952.  He also performed in other stage productions over the years and made more film appearances, most notably in the 1979 movie The Blues Brothers.  During the film, Calloway put on his trademark white tie and tails and performed “Minnie the Moocher”.  Cab Calloway died on November 18, 1994.

He took pride in his part of the Harlem Renaissance and also mentions Sriver’s Row in his songs “Hard Times (Topsy Turvy)” and “The Ghost of Smokey Joe.”
Click on the photo below for a link to iTunes to hear all of his music.

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Below is a video of Cab Calloway performing his hit “Minnie the Moocher” Live at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
Also, a video clip from the movie “Stormy Weather” (1943) featuring Cab Calloway and his orchestra performing “Jumpin Jive” which ends with the Nicholas Brothers dancing and struttin’ their stuff.

Posted in Apollo Theater, Celebrity, Central Harlem, Community, Culture, Dance, East Harlem, Education, Entertainment, Harlem, History, Music, New York City, North Harlem, South Harlem (SOHA), Sunday Jazz Corner, TV & Video, West Harlem Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

September 8th, 2013 by harlemhouse

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Duke Ellington’s last words were, “Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered”.  He was an American composer, pianist, and jazz-orchestra leader with a career that spanned more than 50 years.  Ellington led his orchestra from 1923 until his death.  He was born  April 29, 1899 and passed along on May 24, 1974.  He was known as a key participant of  the Harlem Renaissance era and his legacy lives on in Harlem and all around the world.

For this post I chose two video performances “Take The A Train” live in Harlem 1964, and a video of Ellington and his band performing “It Don’t Mean A Thing” back in 1943.

Duke Ellington married his high school sweetheart, Edna Thompson, on July 2, 1918, when he was 19.  Shortly after their marriage, on March 11, 1919 Edna gave birth to their only son, Mercer Kennedy Ellington.  Ellington was joined in New York City by his wife and son in the late twenties, but the couple soon permanently separated.  According to her obituary in Jet magazine, she was “homesick for Washington” and returned (she died in 1967).  In 1938 he met and moved in with Cotton Club employee Beatrice “Evie” Ellis, who with with him during his Cotton Club years in Harlem.  The relationship with Ellis, though stormy, continued after Ellington met Fernandae de Castro Monte in the early 1960s. Ellington supported both women for the rest of his life.

At his funeral, attended by over 12,000 people at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Harlem, Ella Fitzgerald summed up the occasion, “It’s a very sad day. A genius has passed”.  He was laid to rest in the Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx, New York City.  His reputation increased after his death and the Pulitzer Prize Board bestowed on him a special posthumous honor in 1999.

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Duke Ellington in 1973

VIDEO: Duke Ellington Live in Harlem “Take The A Train” (1964) features Ernie Shepard on vocals.

VIDEO: Duke Ellington – It Don’t Mean A Thing (1943)

Posted in Art and Culture, Celebrity, Central Harlem, Community, Culture, East Harlem, Entertainment, Harlem, History, Music, New York City, North Harlem, South Harlem (SOHA), Sunday Jazz Corner, West Harlem Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

August 11th, 2013 by harlemhouse

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Louis Armstrong was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972 by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.  He was one of the most famous musicians of the Harlem Renaissance.
Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an “inventive” trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. With his instantly-recognizable gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes.  He was also skilled at scat singing (vocalizing using sounds and syllables instead of actual lyrics).  Armstrong was one of the first truly popular African-American entertainers to “cross over”, whose skin-color was secondary to his music in an America that was severely racially divided. He rarely publicly politicized his race, often to the dismay of fellow African-Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation during the Little Rock Crisis. His artistry and personality allowed him socially acceptable access to the upper echelons of American society that were highly restricted for a black man.

In Louis Armstrong’s later years he resided in Corona, Queens NY in a home that now many schools and classrooms still visit today for history on the Harlem Renaissance and Social Studies.  It was explained to me recently by a teacher who took his classroom to visit the home as a school field trip that when Louis was on the road and would drive home all the neighbor kids would run up to the driveway to greet him and he would play his trumpet for them.  It is also told that his wife and him would invite the neighborhood kids in for cake.

Here is Louis Armstrong singing his classic version of “What A Wonderful World.”

Posted in Harlem, History, Music, New York City, Sunday Jazz Corner Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

May 30th, 2013 by harlemhouse

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“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”

– Zora Neale Hurston
.

“A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it.”

– Zora Neale Hurston

 * Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an American folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Of Hurston’s four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.
An article, “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston”, by Alice Walker, published in the March 1975 issue of Ms. magazine, revived interest in Hurston’s work. The reemergence of her work coincided with the emergence of authors such as Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Walker herself, whose works are centered on African-American experiences and include, but do not necessarily focus upon, racial struggle.

Posted in Harlem, Quote Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

June 2nd, 2012 by harlemhouse

“Those that don’t got it, can’t show it.  Those that got it, can’t hide it.”

– Zora Neale Hurston 

* An American folklorist, anthropologist and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance.  Of Hurston’s four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Posted in Harlem, Quote Tagged with: , , ,

September 25th, 2011 by tharealharlemista

by thaRealHarlemista

We all know that Harlem is bursting with history, not least of which is the that cultural movement known as the Harlem Reniassance, the “literary and intellectual flowering that fostered a new black cultural identity in the 1920s and 1930s”*.

Ephemera Press out of Brooklyn, a publishing company devoted to the celebrating the history of popular culture according to its website, sells a poster-quality illustrative map,  beautifully highlighting  geographical portraits of the Harlem Renaissance.

The back of the map also serves a walking tour guide. It’s a cartographic jewel well worth the money.

http://www.ephemerapress.com/harlemmap_detail.html

*Read more: The Birth of the Harlem Renaissance: History & Timeline — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bhmharlem1.html#ixzz1Yz0VTBS7

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