Siteseen Logo

Harlem Renaissance Singers


Harlem Renaissance Singers: the most notable and famous Harlem Renaissance Singers.

Definition and Summary of the Harlem Renaissance Singers

Summary and definition: The famous Harlem Renaissance singers introduced an exciting and innovative style of music called jazz. The singers combined African rhythms with  soulful blues and used improvisational techniques to create Jazz music and songs. The Jazz singers found the opportunity to experiment with the sound in the speakeasy cellars in the cities of New York.

List of Harlem Renaissance Singers and Songs
The list and short descriptions of the most notable and famous Harlem Renaissance singers featured in the list include details of Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Paul Robeson, Bill "Bo jangles" Robinson, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Adelaide Hall, Lottie Gee, Cab Calloway, Ethel Waters, Avon Long, Aida Ward, Edith Wilson, Ma Rainey, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday and Lena Horne.

Paul Robeson: The handsome and charismatic Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976) was a notable sportsman, actor and singer of the era. Paul Robeson is particularly remembered for his powerful rendition of "Ol' Man River" from the musical "Show Boat". His left-wing civil rights beliefs and activities practically ruined his career.

Bessie Smith: Bessie Smith (1894 - 1937), the 'Empress of the Blues', started out as a street musician in Chattanooga and rose in fame to become one of the most successful singers and entertainers of her time. Bessie Smith received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. "St. Louis Blues" was recorded in 1929 by Louis Armstrong accompanied by Bessie Smith.

Louis Armstrong: Louis " Satchmo" Armstrong (1901 - 1971) one of the most famous Harlem Renaissance Musicians and singers extended his career into the movies. He recorded "Everybody Loves My Baby" was recorded by Armstrong with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. Other memorable hits included 'Wonderful World' and 'Mack the Knife'.

Josephine Baker: Dancer and singer Josephine Baker (1906 - 1975), aka the "Black Pearl" started her career in New York City performing in Chocolate Dandies and at the Plantation Club. She caused a sensation when she moved to France and performed at the Folies Bergère.

Billie Holiday: Billie Holiday (1915 - 1959), nicknamed "Lady Day" was one of jazz's most influential singers distinguished by her melancholy tone. She was considered by many to be one of the best jazz vocalists. Billie Holiday performed with the Count Basie and Duke Ellington Orchestras. Her life was immortalized in the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues which starred Diana Ross.

Lena Horne: The beautiful Lena Horne (1917 - 2010) started her career at the Cotton Club and became one of the most famous singers of the Jazz Age and beyond. Her career moved on to Hollywood movies. Her most famous songs were 'Stormy Weather', 'I Got Rhythm' and 'Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man'.

Adelaide Hall: Adelaide Hall (1901 - 1993) is credited with developing the improvisational, wordless rhythms ushered in the vocal technique known as "scat." Adelaide Hall was major figure during the Harlem Renaissance before settling in Britain in 1938.

Ella Fitzgerald: Ella Fitzgerald (1917 - 1996), the Queen of Jazz, achieved world wide fame as a jazz singer with her remarkable a vocal range that spanned three octaves. In 1925 Ella Fitzgerald and Cab Calloway recorded  "Sweet Georgia Brown". Her most famous songs included Dream a Little Dream of Me, Summertime and My Funny Valentine.

Lottie Gee: Lottie Gee (1886 - 1957) achieved fame appearing as the leading lady in two major Broadway African-American musical productions - The Chocolate Dandies and Shuffle Along.

Cab Calloway: Elegant Cab Calloway (1907 - 1994) was a jazz singer and bandleader who became famous due to his performances at the Cotton Club and his famous song 'Minnie the Moocher', that sold over one million records. In 1925 Cab Calloway and Ella Fitzgerald recorded  "Sweet Georgia Brown".

Ethel Waters: Ethel Waters (1896 - 1977) was an extremely popular jazz, blues and gospel singer of her time who frequently sang with Fletcher Henderson

Avon Long: The multi-talented Avon Long (1910 - 1984) danced at the Cotton Club, sang in ''Porgy and Bess'' on Broadway and played the elderly character of Chicken George Moore in ''Roots: The Next Generations

Aida Ward: Aida Ward (1903 - 1984) was a popular and versatile nightclub and radio singer, a featured vocalist with the Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington orchestras. Aida Ward  sang at the Cotton Club and  became famous when she recorded the hit song "I can't give you anything but love, Baby".

Edith Wilson: Edith Wilson (1896 - 1981) was an important American blues singer who performed alongside Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller.

Fats Waller: Fats Waller (1904 - 1943) was a famous jazz pianist, composer and singer who achieved fame with his hit records "Ain't Misbehavin" and "Honeysuckle Rose".

Ma Rainey: Ma Rainey (1902 - 1967). "Ma" Rainey, born Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett, was one of the first popular female blues singers who is considered the 'Mother of the Blues' and sang in a deep, rasping voice. Amongst her famous songs were Booze and Blues and Deep Moaning Blues.

US American History
1913-1928: WW1 & Prohibition

ⓒ 2017 Siteseen Limited

First Published

Cookies Policy


Updated 2018-01-01

Publisher Siteseen Limited

Privacy Statement