Friday, April 21, 2006
Well Known Jazz Enthusiast John Gilbert: This is a book of historical significance in both jazz, race relations and heroism.
This review of James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant appears courtesy of eJazzNews.com
This is a well documented account of the life of James Europe who was a war hero and instrumental in advancing the cause of Black musicians in the heyday of racism and bigotry. Europe formed the first black musician's union, known as The Clef Club. His was the first black orchestra to record and to play at Carnegie Hall.
While in service with the army in the first world war, James Europe was the victim of a gas attack while in battle. He led the band of New York's 15th. National Guard Unit known as The Harlem Hellfighters. The unit was reputed to be the most decorated regiment in WW1.
James Reese Europe was a true pioneer of black jazz and influenced the works of Ellington, Basie and others of import. At the age of 39 Europe was tragically murdered by a member of his band and his brilliance was left tragically on a Boston hospital bed, his legacy lives on, however, to this day.
This book is illustrated magnificently by R2C2H2 in the folk art genre.
Eubie Blake described Europe as being among the major influences in both jazz and the advancement of the black musician in society. George Gershwin, as a child would sit outside the Harlem club where Europe was performing and no doubt was hugely influenced by his artistry.
This is a book of historical significance in both jazz, race relations
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