Music, School of
Date of this Version
White paper, issued 7/29/2016.
James Reese Europe (1880-1919) was an American ragtime and early jazz bandleader, arranger, and composer. He was the leading figure on the African-American music scene of New York City in the 1910s. During World War I, Europe obtained a commission in the New York Army National Guard, where he saw combat as a lieutenant with the 369th Infantry Regiment (the "Harlem Hellfighters"). He went on to direct the regimental band to great acclaim. In February and March 1918, James Reese Europe and his military band travelled over 2,000 miles in France, performing for British, French and American military audiences as well as French civilians. Europe's "Hellfighters" also made their first recordings in France for the Pathé brothers. The first concert included a French march, and the Stars and Stripes Forever as well as syncopated numbers such as "The Memphis Blues", which, according to a later description of the concert by band member Noble Sissle "... started ragtimitis in France".
Copyright (c) 2016 Peter Lefferts.
This document is one in a series---"Chronology and Itinerary of the Career of"---devoted to a small number of African American musicians active ca. 1900-1950. They are fallout from my work on a pair of essays, "US Army Black Regimental Bands and The Appointments of Their First Black Bandmasters" (2013) and "Black US Army Bands and Their Bandmasters in World War I" (2012). In all cases I have put into some kind of order a number of biographical research notes, principally drawing upon newspaper and genealogy databases. None of them is any kind of finished, polished document; all represent work in progress, complete with missing data and the occasional typographical error. I invite queries, amplifications, and corrections, which may be directed to email@example.com. The present document is a first draft of July 2016.