By Reid Badger
In 1919, the realm stood on the threshhold of the Jazz Age. the fellow who had ushered it there, besides the fact that, lay murdered--and might quickly plunge from overseas status to historic obscurity. It was once a destiny few might have expected for James Reese Europe; he was once then on the top of his profession as a composer, conductor, and organizer within the black neighborhood, with the promise of even larger heights to come back. "People do not realize but this day what we misplaced once we misplaced Jim Europe," acknowledged pianist Eubie Blake. "He used to be the savior of Negro musicians...in a category with Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King." In James Reese Europe, Reid Badger brilliantly captures this attention-grabbing existence, tracing a severe bankruptcy within the emergence of jazz via one man's amazing odyssey. After an early begin in Washington, Europe chanced on his reputation in ny, the leisure capital of turn-of-the-century the United States. within the decade prior to the 1st international battle, he emerged as an said chief in African-American musical theater, either as a conductor and an astonishingly prolific composer. Badger finds a guy of super depths and pursuits, continuously intending to win acceptance for black musicians and wider recognition for his or her track. He toiled regularly, engaged on profit concert events, becoming a member of fingers with W.E.B. Du Bois, and aiding to came upon a black track school--all the whereas profitable advertisement and significant good fortune together with his selected paintings. In 1910, he helped create the Clef membership, making it the most advantageous African-American musical association within the kingdom in the course of his presidency. each year from 1912 to 1914, Europe led the Clef membership orchestra in effective live shows at Carnegie corridor, profitable new respectability and recognition for ragtime. He went directly to a drastically profitable collaboration with Vernon and Irene fort, the foreign stars who made social dancing a world-wide rage. alongside the way in which, Europe helped to revolutionize American music--and Badger offers interesting info of his techniques and broad effect. In global conflict I, the musical pioneer gained new status because the first African-American officer to guide males into wrestle in that conflict--but he used to be most sensible often called band chief for the all-black fifteenth Infantry Regiment. because the "Hellfighters" of the fifteenth racked up successes at the battlefield, Europe's band took France by way of typhoon with the recent sounds of jazz. In 1919, the warriors lower back to big apple in triumph, and Europe used to be the toast of the town. Then, quite a few months later, he used to be dead--stabbed to demise by way of a drummer in his personal orchestra. From humble beginnings to tragic finish, the tale of Jim Europe comes alive in Reid Badger's account. Weaving within the wider tale of our altering tradition, song, and racial clash, Badger deftly captures the turbulent, promising age of ragtime, and the drama of a effective existence reduce brief.
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Additional info for A Life in Ragtime: A Biography of James Reese Europe
They performed mostly for white audiences in the Northern states and Canada, and they avoided most of the difficulties that Europe had encountered the previous year with The Shoo-fly Regiment. Tom Logan's letters from the Smart Set Company, which were regularly printed in the Indianapolis Freeman's "Stage" column, convey a sense of the good-natured comradeship that existed in the company as well as an increasing appreciation for Jim Europe's contributions. "54 His letter in the November 30 issue reported that the principals and chorus were united in trying 36 A L I F E IN R A G T I M E to see "who can best work and best agree," and that "Prof.
Such an event could hardly have escaped the notice of the musical Europe family, especially that of the two Europe boys. 19 Virtually every town of any size supported some sort of civic band, and larger communities— like Mobile—could boast of several such groups who had been performing regularly since the Civil War. In addition, there were numerous professional concert bands like that of Patrick S. Gilmore that toured the country extensively. S. Marine Corps Band. S. 21 Both Sousa, who had been dubbed the "March King" for such compositions as "The Washington Post March" and "Semper Fidelis," and the Marine Band itself had a long-standing relationship with the African-American community in Washington.
LeDroit Park remained one of the most socially desirable, black middle-class residential neighborhoods in Washington until the Great Depression. In the early 1890s, northwest Washington was an ideal place for Henry Europe to begin to develop his real estate business. In addition, Lincoln Memorial Congregational Church, M Street High School, and Howard University, the institutions of greatest importance to the Europe family, were located there. In moving to northwest Washington, the Europes also joined the tide of newly arriving black professionals and older established government workers who sought to purchase homes there that would demonstrate their rising status.