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The Unique Quartette: the First African American quartet to make records

The Unique Quartette: the first African American quartet to make records

A Grammy-nominated album spotlights 1895 recordings.

WNYC's All Of It with Alison Stewart features an interview with researchers who discovered and restored these ancient recordings.

Celebrated, 1895-1896
The Unique Quartette

As described on the the Archeophone web site: "The Unique Quartette, the first African American quartet ever to make records—beginning in 1890—have been a flickering historical mystery until now. Two of their wax cylinders appeared on our GRAMMY-winning Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1891-1922, but that was thought to be the last word. This 10-inch vinyl compilation shows the group in all its barbershop-harmonizing glory over six expertly restored cylinder selections, whose existence is revealed for the first time only now. New research identifies the most likely members of the group to have participated in the recordings, and the dates and places of their births and deaths are published here for the first time."

Brian Lynch is Public Relations Manager for the Barbershop Harmony Society.