Underneath a Harlem Moon

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Underneath a Harlem Moon: The Harlem to Paris Years of Adelaide Hall
AuthorIain Cameron Williams
CountryUnited Kingdom/United States
  • Adelaide Hall
  • Jazz
  • Harlem
PublisherContinuum International Publishing Group
Publication date
September 15, 2002
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback)
ISBN978-0-826-45893-3 (hardcover)
WebsiteUnderneath A Harlem Moon

Underneath a Harlem Moon: The Harlem to Paris Years of Adelaide Hall is a non-fiction book by author Iain Cameron Williams. The book published by Continuum in 2002 recounts the life of Brooklyn-born jazz singer and entertainer Adelaide Hall and focuses on her ground-breaking American career during the Harlem Renaissance throughout the 1920s and early-30s and her subsequent early European career from 1935 onwards during her time living in Paris, France, culminating in her emigration to the UK in 1939.


Upon its release, the book garnered praise from many quarters - both for the depth of research undertaken by the author and his knowledge and understanding of the subject - and put Hall's eight-decade career back on the radar. Hall's achievements in America during the culturally rich 1920s had for many years been overlooked, due mainly to her relocation to reside in Britain with her husband and manager Bert Hicks. Williams was a close friend of Miss Hall and the book was authorised by the singer in 1992, a year before her death at the age of 92 in November 1993.

In January 2003, The Guardian newspaper published a full-page review by writer Stephen Bourne in which Bourne applauds Williams for bringing Hall back to the attention of the public: "The real first lady of jazz, Stephen Bourne on Iain Cameron Williams's biography of Adelaide Hall, once the most celebrated black female star in America."[1]

Lee Prosser in Jazz Review states: "This is a fine reading experience, and the author Iain Cameron Williams is to be congratulated on an accurate, detailed biography. First class. Highly recommended." - Lee Prosser, Jazz Review.com[2]

"Williams met Ms. Hall late in her life and spent a considerable amount of time interviewing her and this shows in the incredible and accurate narrative, which provides a vivid description of the heyday of black musical revues ... The book is well-written and includes a lot of hitherto-unavailable data ... One of the best books I've read on the musical scene of the 1920s." - Paige Van Vorst, Jazz Beat, Fall 2002.[3]


  1. Stephen Bourne's review in The Guardian Underneath a Harlem Moon
  2. Underneath a Harlem Moon review by Lee Prosser in Jazz Review.
  3. Underneath a Harlem Moon review by Paige Van Vorst, Jazz Beat, Fall 2002.

External links

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