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December 29 , 2009

The School of Arizona Dranes

Gospel Music Pioneer


Arizona Dranes (1889-1963) was a true musical innovator whose recordings made for the Okeh label during the years 1926-1928 helped lay the foundations for what would soon be known as gospel music. Her unique blend of ragtime, barrelhouse, and boogie woogie piano plus her exciting and emotional Pentecostal style of singing influenced the development of gospel music for the next forty years and beyond.
The School of Arizona Dranes: Gospel Music Pioneer covers the life and career of Dranes and situates her accomplishments in the broader history of African American gospel music and the rise of the Pentecostal movement. Starting with the earliest recordings of the music in the late nineteenth century, this book provides a history of African American sacred and gospel music that convincingly demonstrates the revolutionary nature of Dranes’s musical accomplishment. Using specific examples, the author traces the far-reaching influence of Arizona Dranes on African American gospel piano playing and singing.

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