By Reid Badger
In 1919, the realm stood on the threshhold of the Jazz Age. the fellow who had ushered it there, although, lay murdered--and might quickly plunge from overseas status to ancient obscurity. It used to be a destiny few could have anticipated for James Reese Europe; he was once then on the top of his profession as a composer, conductor, and organizer within the black group, with the promise of even higher heights to come back. "People do not understand but this day what we misplaced after 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 impressive odyssey. After an early begin in Washington, Europe came across his status in manhattan, the leisure capital of turn-of-the-century the USA. within the decade ahead of the 1st global warfare, he emerged as an said chief in African-American musical theater, either as a conductor and an astonishingly prolific composer. Badger unearths a guy of great depths and targets, consistently desiring to win acceptance for black musicians and wider popularity for his or her song. He toiled regularly, engaged on gain live shows, becoming a member of palms with W.E.B. Du Bois, and aiding to came across a black tune school--all the whereas profitable advertisement and important luck along with his selected artwork. In 1910, he helped create the Clef membership, making it the superior 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 successful live shows at Carnegie corridor, profitable new respectability and recognition for ragtime. He went directly to a vastly winning 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 attention-grabbing information of his ideas and extensive impact. In international conflict I, the musical pioneer gained new reputation because the first African-American officer to guide males into strive against in that conflict--but he used to be top 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 hot sounds of jazz. In 1919, the warriors lower back to ny in triumph, and Europe was once the toast of the town. Then, quite a few months later, he used to be dead--stabbed to demise through 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, tune, and racial clash, Badger deftly captures the turbulent, promising age of ragtime, and the drama of a successful lifestyles minimize brief.
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Additional info for A Life in Ragtime: A Biography of James Reese Europe
Summer's end found them embarking on their second tour of the country, this time including Canada and with Joe Jordan as musical director. It was a tour that proved to be much more successful than the 1906 ordeal. Jim Europe had left Shoo-Fly as music director in March to join S. H. Dudley and the Smart Set Company in developing a new musical play in which he would have greater writing responsibilities. Sherman Houston Dudley was the same age as Jim Europe and, like Europe, considered himself a Washingtonian.
Cole and Johnson, who starred as Brown and Green, respectively, wrote the book, the lyrics, and most of the music. They also assembled a strong supporting cast, including Abbie Mitchell (recently divorced "On the Gay Luneta" 39 from Will Marion Cook) as Minnehaha, Theodore Pankey, Sam Lucas, and some forty additional actors, dancers, and singers. 66 Many of the tunes, according to Riis, are both "charming and fresh" and "J. "67 One of these, "I Ain't Had No Lovin' in a Long Time (an' Lovin' is a Thing I Need)," words by Cole and music by Europe, stands out from the others as an effective combination of "an especially catchy series of intervals that could be swung gently" and a cleverly humorous lyric that treats female sexuality with unusual frankness: Mister Romeo Bacon is a nice young man, But here's where I puts him on de frying pan, He's one o'dem gentlemen dat acts too nice, He sets up in de parlor, like a cake of ice; He never calls me "honey" an' he never says "dear" An' he never makes a noise like a cold glass of beer He don't give me nothing, but dat "weather" talk, And he never even asked me for to take a walk, Of course I'm "dickee doo," But I Like a little lovin' too.
The Marine Band regularly took part in such important events in the black community as Howard University's commencement ceremonies, and band members often provided musical instruction to promising black children. One of those youngsters was Jim Europe, who, along with his sister Mary according to some accounts, received instruction on piano and violin from Enrico Hurlei, the assistant director of the band. 22 In 1894, Henry Europe resigned his position with the Postal Service to enter the promising real estate business.