If you haven’t heard, there’s an HBCU Marching Band focused Gospel Album out! Tennessee State University’s very own “Aristocrat of Bands” along with various artists, musicians and staff have done the unthinkable. Covered on The Yard Linkup here at Historically Black Since, we had the chance to officially speak with Assistant Director of Bands of the Aristocrats Professor Larry Jenkins, along with Tennesse State Alumnus and past AOB Member Dubba-AA.
The AOB has a long list of accomplishments and history making including performaning at the White House on multiple occasions, at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961, performing on the South Lawn of the White House during a reception in honor of the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. To being the first HBCU band in history in 1955 to ever appear on television at their halftime performance at the Chicago Bears vs Los Angeles Rams NFL game. In 2002, the AOB was named the official band of the Tennessee Titans and continues to play during halftime for the team. They’ve also recently played at the Los Angeles Lakers halftime show.
With 10 songs on the album, every song including the Aristocrat of Bands concluding with the University’s Alma Mater, calling it a, “full circle moment in time”, due to the fact this was cultivated for years. Now in the present, what then started as a simple conversation at Mexican restaurant named Cinco De Mayo Mexican Bar & Grill turned into something that will forever be etched in history as an achievement for Gospel, African-American and HBCU culture(s).
Dubba-AA being involved through production and executive leading on the project along with Professor Jenkins and various other musicians. Through long nights, mixing sessions and even the duo driving 7 hours to Mississippi with no sleep putting in their all to get this album released. “It was great to see the process and how Gospel mixed with marching band music sounds great. It’ll change your life, make you feel different, have different emotions (ominous)”, said Dubba-AA.
Making sure they had a great project and great content for the people, the music written with proposed lines from different sections of the music (instrumentalists, singers, percussionists, etc). Roughly a 6 month project from conception to finalization, Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands along with various singers, prodcuers, staff and everyone that had a helping hand in this project have truly created a phenomenal and generational masterpiece.You can listen to the “The Urban Hymnal” album and follow the Aristocrat of Bands Instagram below