Jubilee Quartet Review – Kendall Jones

Jubilee ensembles became increasingly popular during the 1800s. Quartet meaning a group of 4, typically singing in four-part harmony rose out of the trials and tribulations of slavery. Negro spirituals were used during these times of pain but were soon transformed into melodies to help fight for future rights. Ensembles like the Golden Gate Quartet influenced the unique trend and style of singing originally to white audiences. They fell in love with the tunes as opposed to African American audiences who were not as accepting of the secular lyrics.

This evolution from gospel to rhythm and blues occurred all over the South. African American families did not originally accept the quartet sounds as they were seen as hybrid versions of the gospel. A Capella quartets such as the Fisk Jubilee Singers were more accepted as they often say spirituals and other hymnals.

Over time, the sound of these quartets was experiencing considerable change. Once an article by BJ Reagon from The Anchor said that “Solo leads evolved that mirrored the preaching tradition, and the jubilee quartet became the gospel quartet. This change saw the prolific creation of new songs and arrangement techniques.”

Kendall C. Jones

Kendall C. Jones

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