Harlem’s Cab Calloway’s “Hepster Dictionary,” 1939 (video)

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Cab Calloway, the charismatic bandleader not only had a way with words, his love of them led him to compile a “Hepster’s Dictionary” of Harlem musician slang circa 1938. It featured 200 expressions used by the “hep cats” when they talk their “jive” in the clubs on Lenox Avenue in Harlem, NY.. Continue Reading →

Nora Douglas Holt The Rich “It” Girl Of Harlem Society, 1920’s

nora harlem worldNora Douglas Holt was born in 1885 or 1890, she was an American singer, composer and music critic, who was born in Kansas and was the first African American to receive a masters degree in the United States. Continue Reading →

Razing Harlem’s Renaissance Is ‘Cultural Genocide’

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A preservation battle is brewing over Harlem’s historic Renaissance Ballroom & Casino, whose stage used to host acts like Count Basie, Duke Ellington and many, many more. Continue Reading →

HW Pick: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series At MOMA

the-great-migrationjacob lawenceThe Museum of Modern Art marks the centennial of the beginning of the Great Migration, the multi-decade mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North, with the exhibition One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North from April 3 through September 7, 2015. Continue Reading →

T. Oliver Reid Brings Drop Me Off In Harlem

tn-500_stephensorokoff-237Singer and Broadway star T. Oliver Reid leads what he describes as “a club hopping journey through the swanky clubs and low down joints of 1934 Harlem,” featuring the music of Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen, Andy Razaf, and more. Continue Reading →

A Harlem Throwback To The Era Of Billie Holiday

harlem bbop makes come backAround 8 p.m. on a recent Saturday, a few dozen people were gathered in a narrow, dimly lit Harlem brownstone. Couples smoked in the backyard beneath Christmas lights; a group of Chilean expats sought a corkscrew; a man and his young son searched for seats. Continue Reading →

Harlem’s Leonard Harper “The Father Of Cabaret”

leonard harper in harlemLeonard Harper (1899 – 1943), was a producer, dancer, directing, choreographer and director during the Harlem renaissance in Harlem, New York   Continue Reading →

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington 1889-1974 (video)

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Duke Ellington, Cotton Club, 1930’s

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras. He led his orchestra from 1923 until his death, his career spanning over 50 years. Continue Reading →