Unique Quartette

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The Unique Quartette was a black vocal quartet in New York City. Founded in the mid-1880s by Joseph Moore, they are best known for a handful of wax cylinder recordings made in the first half of the 1890s.[1] They are the earliest known black vocal group to have been commercially recorded, with their first recordings made in December 1890 for the New York Phonograph Company.[2][3]

Several of their wax cylinders survive, most recorded by the North American Phonograph Company, and are among the earliest extant recordings of any African-American musicians, along with recordings by George W. Johnson and a single surviving cylinder recorded by Louis Vasnier.[4]

The earliest surviving wax cylinder recording of the Unique Quartette - and thus the earliest surviving recording by any African-American musician - is Edison 694, "Mamma's Black Baby Boy," recorded in 1893. There are two copies left; one is in the Library of Congress and one is privately owned.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brooks, Tim (2005). Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1891-1922. University of Illinois Press. pp. 75–82. ISBN 978-0-252-07307-6. 
  2. ^ Gracyk, Tim. "Early Recordings of African Americans/Early Ragtime". 
  3. ^ Brooks, p. 76
  4. ^ Brooks, p. 88

External links[edit]