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Norfolk Jazz and Jubilee Quartet Vol. 4 (1927-1929)

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Album Review

Of the six volumes devoted by Document to the complete recordings of the Norfolk Jazz and Jubilee Quartets, volume four is the only one that contains no secular material. During their nearly 20-year existence, this amazing unit was alternately billed as the Norfolk Jazz Quartet or the Norfolk Jubilee, depending upon the audience, the venue, and the material they chose to sing. The artful arrangements and creative technique employed by this seasoned group enlivened their religious repertoire, and a fine example included here is "Our Father," a soulful setting of the 23rd Psalm. This valuable stash of Paramount recordings cut between September 1927 and February 1929 contains a fine selection of spirituals and gospel favorites, including "Ezekiel Saw De Wheel," "Ride On, King Jesus," "His Eye Is on the Sparrow," and "King Jesus Stand by Me." During the '90s, the producers at Document routinely reproduced the exact 78 rpm playback experience with unflinching accuracy. While this stoic approach has rugged merit, there are occasions when distortion and phonographic surface noise threaten to interfere with the listening experience. Fortunately, the Norfolks' ability to cut through the crusty veil of scratchiness is truly remarkable, and several strong performances like "When the Moon Goes Down" and "Wonder Where Is the Gamblin' Man" are clearly audible with little or no interference. Hopefully, at some point these rare recordings will be revisited using some sort of cautiously employed noise reduction software so that the harmonies and heartfelt emotion of the Norfolk Jubilee may be more readily appreciated by 21st century listeners. As it stands, surface noise and all, this volume is as precious and rewarding as any other in the series.


Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s

The vocal quartet alternately known as the Norfolk Jazz and the Norfolk Jubilee was the best known and most influential group of this sort to emerge from the Tidewater region of Virginia prior to the appearance of their best-known followers the Golden Gate Quartet. Founded by bass singer Len Williams and baritone Delroy Hollins, the Norfolks were performing in public as early as 1919 with Otto Tuston and James "Buddy" Butts singing tenor. Hollins acted as manager for the quartet and rehearsed them...
Full bio
Norfolk Jazz and Jubilee Quartet Vol. 4 (1927-1929), Norfolk Jazz And Jubilee Quartet
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Blues, Music
  • Released: Nov 21, 1995

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