Sounds of Blackness

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This article is about musical group. For the Canadian music awards, see Sounds of Blackness Award.
Sounds of Blackness
Origin Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
Genres Gospel, R&B
Years active 1969–present
Labels Perspective Records
A&M Records
Zinc Records
Atomic K Records
Malaco Music Group
Associated acts Paris Bennett, Cynthia Johnson
Past members Ann Nesby
James "Big Jim" Wright
Jamecia Bennett

Sounds of Blackness is a Grammy Award-winning vocal and instrumental ensemble from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota who perform music from several genres music including gospel, R&B, soul, and jazz.[1] The group scored several hits on the Billboard R&B chart and Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the 1990s. Cynthia Johnson of Lipps Inc. fame and Grammy winner Ann Nesby are the group's most prominent alumni.



The group was founded in 1969 by Russell Knighton at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the group was called the Macalester College Black Voices. It was in 1971 when current director Gary Hines took leadership over the ensemble, and the group name was officially changed to Sounds of Blackness (SOB). The group had acquired local celebrity status throughout the years though never signed with a record company because of various reasons including the fact that many companies were not comfortable with the group's name. Some companies even suggested to Hines that the group's name be changed to "The Sounds of Music."[citation needed]

The chief lead singer of the group was Ann Nesby until 1995 when Nesby left the group to pursue a solo career. The group continues to perform internationally.

Awards and honors[edit]

The group has received three Grammy Awards, four Stellar Awards, one Emmy nomination, the International Time for Peace Award, the International Dance Music Award, five NAACP Image Award nominations and 1 NAACP Image Award.

Sounds of Blackness's "Time For Love" was nominated for the 7th Annual Independent Music Awards for R&B Song of the year.

Members (The Perspective Records Lineup)[edit]


First Sopranos: Jamecia Bennett, Dorothy A. Brown, Sandra Harris, Angela Henderson, Wanda Lewis, Renee J. McCall

Second Sopranos: Jayn R. Bell, Ann Nesby, Kellie Hickman, Cheryl D. Warder- Reeves, Elizabeth J. Turner

First Altos: Kimberly Gayle Brown, Coré Cotton, Shirley Marie Graham, Carrie Harrington, Wendy Ingram, Valarie Johnson, Regina Williams, Cynthia Johnson

Second Altos: Patricia Lacy, Lisa D. Russell, Dorothy Shelby, Dorothy J. Towns, Jennifer Whitlock

First Tenors: Michael L. Bowens, Robert Edwards, Terence O. Frierson, William H. Smith

Second Tenors: Dr. Robert J. Jones, Russell B. Knighton, Jr., Otis Montgomery, Willie Wesley

Baritones: Freddie Winston, David Brim Young

Basses: Reverend Ira Conley, Timothy W. Lee, Rojeem Taylor

Spirit V[edit]

Gordon Bruce, Gregory Sears (Second basses)

Geoffrey Jones (First baritone)

Minneapolis Gospel Sound[edit]

Billy Steele - Organ

Robert "Speedy" Pittman - Bass

Chico Cockrell - Drum programming

The Sounds Of Blackness Orchestra[edit]

Gary Hines - musical director, conductor, arranger, piano, congas, tympani, drum programming

Lasalle Gabriel, Soli Hughes - guitar

Trenon Graham- drums, percussion

Jeanine McAdams - keyboards

James "Big Jim" Wright - keyboards, organ, additional vocals

Kevin Whitlock - congas, tympani

Reverend Joseph Young, Jr. - bass

Larry "Section" Sims - Trumpet

Louis Wilson - Tenor Sax

Franklin Wharton - Alto Sax, Flute


Studio Albums[edit]

  • The Evolution of Gospel (Perspective, 1991)
  • The Night Before Christmas...A Musical Fantasy (Perspective, 1992)
  • Africa To America - The Journey Of The Drum (Perspective, 1994)
  • Time For Healing (Perspective, 1997)
  • Reconciliation (Zinc, 1999)
  • Soul Symphony (Sounds Of Blackness, 2002)
  • The Night Before Christmas II (Atomic K, 2004)
  • Unity (SLR/Lightyear, 2005)
  • Kings & Queens - Message Music From The Movement (P-Vine, 2007)
  • The 3rd Gift - Story, Song & Spirit (CC Entertainment, 2009)
  • The Sounds of Blackness (Atomic K, 2011)


  • Journey Of The Drum Remix Collection (Perspective, 1995)
  • The Very Best Of Sounds Of Blackness (A&M, 2001)
  • The Collection (Spectrum, 2003)
  • The Best Of Sounds Of Blackness - The Millennium Collection (20th Century Masters) (A&M, 2007)

Other appearances[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Official Website of Sounds of Blackness". Retrieved July 14, 2014. 

External links[edit]