Eubie Blake and the sounds of Harlem.


It took me the longest time to locate a version of this song, primarily because it has two titles. I was looking for Sounds of Africa, as the piece is identified on a three-LP compilation called “Jazz Odyssey, Vol. 3: The Sound of Harlem“.

Along with companion sets featuring music from Chicago and New Orleans, these Harlem recordings were a staple of my listening at the tender age of roughly twelve, as copied onto cassette after borrowing the album from the library. Repeated listenings those many years ago have left indelible imprints on what remains inside my noggin, and now after hearing Charleston Rag, I’m digging out all the ragtime and stride piano that can be found.

Eubie Blake’s very long life was fascinating, and worth a glance. He might well be among the pinnacle of greatest ever Baltimoreans, a list that includes HL Mencken and Art Donovan.