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Noble Sissle photo taken by Carl Van Vechten, 1951

Noble Sissle (July 10, 1889, Indianapolis, Indiana – December 17, 1975, Tampa, Florida) was an American jazz composer, lyricist, bandleader, singer and playwright.

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Sheet music cover for "I'm Just Wild About Harry" from the musical Shuffle Along by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, 1921

Contents

Career

Noble Sissle sang several vocals on the last album recorded by James Reese Europe, conductor of the 369th Infantry Regiment (United States) "Harlem Hellfighters" Band, recorded and released in March 1919. He also accompanied the band on the tour that continued through May, 1919, and was given charge of the band by Europe, who died that night, May 9, 1919, to continue to the next stop on that tour.

Sissle is noted for his collaboration with songwriter, Eubie Blake. The pair first performed in vaudeville and later produced the musicals Shuffle Along and The Chocolate Dandies. Sissle is also, famously, the only African-American artist to appear in the Pathé film archives.

Shortly after World War I, Sissle joined forces with performer Eubie Blake to form a vaudeville music duo, "The Dixie Duo". After vaudeville, the pair began work on a musical revue, Shuffle Along, which incorporated many songs they had written, and had a book written by F. E. Miller and Aubrey Lyles. When it premiered in 1921, Shuffle Along became the first hit musical on Broadway written by and about African Americans. The musicals also introduced hit songs such as "I'm Just Wild About Harry" and "Love Will Find a Way."[1][2]

In 1923, Sissle made two films for Lee DeForest in DeForest's Phonofilm sound-on-film process. They were Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake featuring Sissle and Blake's song "Affectionate Dan", and Sissle and Blake Sing Snappy Songs featuring "Sons of Old Black Joe" and "My Swanee Home". Blake also made a third film in Phonofilm, playing his composition "Fantasy on Swanee River". These three films are preserved in the Maurice Zouary film collection at the Library of Congress.

Sissle was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.

His rendition of the song "Viper Mad" was included in the Woody Allen film Sweet and Lowdown.

Notes

  1. ^ Southern, Eileen. Eubie Blake. in Kernfeld, Barry. ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd Edition, Vol. 1. London: MacMillan, 2002. p. 231.
  2. ^ Graziano, John. Noble Sissle. in Kernfeld, Barry. ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd Edition, Vol. 3. London: MacMillan, 2002. p. 596.

References

The Book of World Famous Music, Classical, Popular and Folk by James Fuld

See also

External links

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