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Vintage Cocktail Hour: Black Tie Edition playlist for Black History Month 2/3/23

Dinah Washington & Brook Benton
Dinah Washington & Brook Benton

DJ Laura Shine's Vintage Cocktail Hour happens the first Friday of each month at 5 pm on 91.9 WFPK. To kick off February it's a Black History Month themed special highlighting the many contributions by black musicians in the genre of old standards and jazz. Their contributions cannot be overstated for it's absolutely astounding how influential so many of these artists were and still are to all other genres of music in America. What is also astounding is all they had to do to breakthrough the white mainstream to get their music out there. Segregation and Jim Crow Laws were still in full effect during the 1930's, 40's, 50's, and into the early 60's. Many of the artists featured were allowed to play in venues but not allowed to exit through any doors but the back ones. Just finding a hotel while on tour could be a brutal experience as most only catered to white people and barred blacks from their businesses. Just check out Nat King Cole's experiences with racism while on the road where he was almost kidnapped and killed by angry white men in Alabama in 1956. He was literally assaulted on stage! Unfortunately, there are countless stories like this for many of these musicians during these decades.

So when you listen to these artists and hear their gorgeous voices accompanied by superb piano or trumpet playing, and the brilliant interpretations of the songs that are now called "Standards", please keep in mind what they had to go through to get their music to your ears. It wasn't easy.

Laura is the afternoon host from 3-6 pm weekdays. Email Laura at lshine@lpm.org

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