Spirits of Rhythm

Spirits of Rhythm were an American jazz string band.

The ensemble's members had previously played under several other names (The Sepia Nephews, Ben Bernie's Nephews, The Five Cousins), and upon adding Teddy Bunn as guitarist in 1932, the group began calling itself Spirits of Rhythm. They occasionally recorded, and performed frequently on 52nd Street in New York City, as well as in Hollywood in the 1930s and early 1940s.

The group featured vocalists accompanied by string instruments, sometimes with other accompaniment such as homemade percussion instruments and harmonica. In addition to the ordinary varieties of string instruments, the Spirits of Rhythm also featured a tiple, an instrument similar to the ukulele, but with multiple strings on each course. The group's vocalists often sang in nonsense syllables or in scat, employing the singer's voice more like an instrument rather than as a vehicle for lyrics. With some personnel changes, the group kept performing until 1946.

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1934

Roles Represented in DAHR: Musical group

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 38633 10-in. 9/11/1934 'Way down yonder in New Orleans Red McKenzie Musical group  
Decca 38634 10-in. 9/11/1934 I've got the world on a string Red McKenzie Musical group  
Decca 38635 10-in. 9/11/1934 From Monday on Red McKenzie Musical group  
Decca 38636 10-in. 9/11/1934 As long as I live Red McKenzie Musical group  
Decca 38662 10-in. 9/14/1934 Junk man Spirits of Rhythm Musical group  
Decca 38663 10-in. 9/14/1934 Dr. Watson and Mr. Holmes Spirits of Rhythm Musical group  
Decca 38664 10-in. 9/14/1934 That's what I hate about love Spirits of Rhythm Musical group  
Decca 38665 10-in. 9/14/1934 Shoutin' in that amen corner Spirits of Rhythm Musical group  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Spirits of Rhythm," accessed May 26, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/344901.

Spirits of Rhythm. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/344901.

"Spirits of Rhythm." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 26 May 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/344901

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