Monday, June 26, 2006

Famous musicologist/ musician Dominique-Rene de Lerma agrees with R2C2H2, James Reese Europe was the first to play Carnegie Hall not Duke Ellington...

It is good to see that good things can happen if you are willing to speak out and stand by what you believe!!!

Dominque-Rene de Lerma

June 12, 2006

Dear Mr. Zick of,
I would like to thank you and your group of committed colleagues for putting together such a wonderful and informative site..It is important for people in general and Black folk in particular to learn about the other ways that African Americans have contributed to American and World cultures aesthetically speaking...One problem I have with the site is the twofold:
1.) The fact that it is stated that Duke Ellington was the first African Band leader to play Carnegie Hall

2.)The fact that Lt. James Europe, one of the most if not the most popular African American musician of his time, is not recognized on this site for his groundbreaking and pioneering work in the field of African American musical heritage which also included being the first African American Bandleader to not only play Carnegie Hall, but also play to an integrated audience no less beating Duke by a good 30 years......

What makes his omission even more glaring are the facts that he was a contemporary and collaborator with Harry T. Burleigh and Will Marion Cook (Duke Ellington's important mentor), that he actually along with David Mannes the director of the New York Philharmonic initiated the founding of the Harlem Music School for Black folks, that he started the first widely recognized Black musician union in the country ( The Clef Club), his Clef Club or Europe Society Orchestra was among the first African American bands to ever make a recording, he was also the first Black man to lead troops into battle during World War One while serving in the Harlem Hell fighters or 369th Regiment under the French flag, was the official orchestra leader for the popular society dance team of Irene and Vernon Castle and was the first Black person ever given a public funeral in New York City's history...
If you want to learn more about Lt. James Reese Europe and his accomplishment please check out and hopefully buy my book James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant at these following locations:
Buy the book James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant
Images from the book James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant
To learn more about me and the other things that I do please check out these following sites:
Take care and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments
Artastically yours,
R2C2H2 Tha Artivist

Mr. Zick of response concerning Lt. James Reese Europe being the first Black Bandleader to perform at Carnegie Hall:

Dear Mr. Herd,
Many thanks for your favorable remarks, by E-mail and in the Guest Book, on my Website,
I regularly receive inquiries on the thousands of composers and musicians of African descent who are not among the mere handful profiled at the Website. Unlike the International Dictionary of Black Composers, published by the Center for Black Music Research,, is not a comprehensive reference source. It is designed to present examples of Black composers and musicians, from different times and places, to students and others who are unfamiliar with African heritage in classical music.

Dominique-René de Lerma is Professor of Music at Lawrence University, and former Director of the Center for Black Music Research. He has been writing on African heritage in classical music for four decades, and kindly allows me to bring inquiries to his attention. His research files are comprehensive and voluminous.
Here is the sentence on my Ellington page to which you apparently refer:

"In 1943 Ellington became the first African American band leader to perform at New York's legendary Carnegie Hall."

I will review my sources and consult my advisors with respect to your position that James Reese Europe was in fact the first African American bandleader to perform at New York's Carnegie Hall.
It is worth noting that Duke Ellington is included at my site because of his classical works, even though he is better known for jazz. That is the same reason Scott Joplin is profiled at the site.
I know enough about James Reese Europe to agree that his career deserves the attention of contemporary biographers. Although the format of my site is highly selective out of necessity, I am happy to receive the information you have provided, and pleased that I can bring it to the attention of Prof. De Lerma.
Best wishes,
Bill Zick
Ann Arbor, MI

World famous music composer and educator/advocate Mr. Dominique-Rene de Lerma agrees that R2C2H2 is correct in advocating that Lt. Europe and not Duke Ellington was the first Black bandleader to perform at Carnegie Hall:

Dear Bill,
Mr.Herd (R2C2H2) is correct all down the line. Old-timers I knew, such as Eubie Blake and Bill Dawson, swore that if Jim Europe had lived, jazz would have been quite different. They might be wrong, but this suggests how revered Europe was. I do think he was at least as influential on the music of France.
Your web site continues to attract daily responses -- a very wholesome sign of how important it is!

After getting verification on this Mr. Zick graciously and swiftly makes corrections on his website :

Hello Dom,
Thanks for your prompt verification that Duke Ellington was not the first African American band leader to perform at New York's Carnegie Hall. The sentence in question on the Ellington page has been revised to read:

"In 1943 Ellington and his band performed at New York's legendary Carnegie Hall."

It is true Website inquiries have been received quite frequently in recent months. Your generous research assistance saves me from having to turn away questions and comments I can't answer, and provides welcome enlightenment to me as well as to Website visitors.
Mr. Herd's message prompted me to visit some of the Websites which present the life and career of James Reese Europe. How tragic that he was killed by an angry member of his ensemble!
Best wishes,

June 13, 2006
Dominique-Rene de Lerma upon visiting my official website for James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant, :

Yes, I have visited it. Beautiful! I will cite it among the references in The music of the Black composer.