From Jubilee to Gospel

Introduction The term Jubilee Quartet was derived from a group of singers known as the Fisk Jubilee Singers. This group was formed at Fisk University, in 1871 to sing Negro Spirituals. The Jubilee Quartet can be broken up into three periods;  Jubilee Period, Transitional Period and Gospel Period. In music, a quartet refers to an […]


A cappella vocal groups are also called jubilee quartets because of the characteristics of performance style. They often consisted of men; they had a developed, unique style of singing. They are a sub-genre of gospel music. They are a synthesis of African American and Western practices. Western quartets usually consisted of four members or four […]

Jubilee Quartet: The Blind Boys of Alabama

Jubilee Quartets Jubilee quartets also known as the African American quartet, is a unique singing form that started in the mid- 1800s and is derived from the historically black college and university singing movement. Jubilee quartets were extremely popular and the name derives from the Fisk Jubilee Singers, who were a group at singers at […]

How it Began: University Jubilee Quartets

Jubilee Background Jubilee is a biblical term that nearly means to shout with joy and Black people did just that, which brought to us Jubilee singing. Jubilee singing started in neighborhoods, churches, barbershops, and historically Black colleges and universities. In a typical manner, something that started small and I’m sure a hobby became main acts […]

The Mills Brothers: A Quartet Group

The Mills Brothers: A Quartet Group The Mills Brothers The Mills Brothers were a quartet group of four brothers who broke racial barriers and paved the way for African-American music through their performances and hits. Their Start All born in the city of Piqua, Ohio between 1910-1915, four brothers, Herbert, Harry, John Jr. and Donald […]

How Jubilee Quartets Transitioned With Black America

What Sparked the Transition? The Great Migration took place between 1910-1920, in which Blacks from rural areas of the South migrated to the North in an effort to receive better educational and social opportunities. As a result of this migration, Black communities created an influx of personal religious, social, and economic opportunities. As The Great […]

Another Genre Stolen: Barbershop Community Quartets

Another Genre Stolen: Barbershop Community Quartets What do the Southern Stars, the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, and the Mills Brothers have in common? All three quartets were created in neighborhood barbershops. Yet, these aren’t the only famous Black artists to come out of neighborhood quartets. Jelly Roll Morton, W.C. Handy, and Louis Armstrong also all […]


Like many of the first genres of African American music in the western world, the quartet was born out of European and African American aesthetics and musical values. The quartet, an ensemble of four voices or four instruments, originated in the mid-1800s out of the collegiate singing movement. Early African American sacred a cappella groups […]