Jubilee Quartets have played a significant role in the course of African American music, not only does it hold a strong foundation it has also influenced a number of genres. Jubilee Quartets are the root of these various genres that you will read later in the blog post. First let’s start with the origin of the African American Jubilee Quartet:

The African American Jubilee quartet originated in the mid-1800s as a unique artistic form of expression. This form of expression was known to have developed from a movement known as the African American University singing movement which was a time period in which, the establishment of higher education for the black community (commonly known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities) began to go bankrupt and because of this tours across the united states took place to raise money for these institutions. Seeing that this genre of music was fresh and unique it became very popular throughout the United States.

African American Jubilee Quartets can be characterized by its unique sound. These groups were typically made up of four men the narrator (lead singer), the bass, and two others who are used to harmonize. Jubilee Quartets are upbeat, a cappella, extremely rhythmic, staccato, and hold religious messages. As a result of Jubilee Quartets being so popular they played a big role during the roaring 20s. Since the 20s were based on partying and lavish living, Jubilee Quartets provided the music to accompany this lavish living.

Some important performers in this genre include the Golden Gate Quartet, Spirits of Rhythm, the Four Vagabonds, Cats and the Fiddle, and the Ravens. Each of these successful ensembles created different elements of the genre which led to the production of genres that came in later years. These Jubilee Quartets were popular across the United States and because of this they were used for many outlets such as propaganda for the military, advertisements, and white counterparts taking the genre and making it their own.

As stated previously, Jubilee Quartets paved the way for many genres that followed it. These genres include, gospel, rock and roll, R&B, and doo-wop, and many more. Overall African American Jubilee Quartets have paved the way for music and lay a foundation in the history of African American music. Though times are changing, the influence that this genre had on many others will live on forever.

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By: Alyssia Santiago