The Zion Harmonizers
"It is hard to separate the words New Orleans Gospel and The Zion Harmonizers. The Zion Harmonizers are living legends, as one would expect from a group that has sung together for more than 70 years and who have repeatedly won every award there is to win for traditional gospel in their city. They have also performed all over the world to receptive audiences. Benjamin Maxon organized the Zion Harmonizers in 1939 out of an old neighborhood in New Orleans known as "New Zion." Maxon's aunt was Alberta French Johnson, who led the renowned all-women's gospel group the Southern Harps. She trained her young nephew and his friends, Sherman Washington and Nolan Washington (who sang with the group until his passing in 1997), in the style of the traditional gospel quartet, an art form that they still practice. Over the years, the personnel has changed a little and the Zion Harmonizers have added some hot instrumentalists, but they still rely heavily on the old-time a cappella style, using four-part harmonies to get their message through."