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A Life in Ragtime: A Biography of James Reese Europe by Reid Badger

By Reid Badger

In 1919, the area stood on the threshhold of the Jazz Age. the fellow who had ushered it there, in spite of the fact that, lay murdered--and may quickly plunge from overseas status to old obscurity. It used to be a destiny few could have envisioned for James Reese Europe; he used to be then on the top of his profession as a composer, conductor, and organizer within the black neighborhood, with the promise of even higher heights to return. "People do not understand but this present 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 interesting lifestyles, tracing a serious bankruptcy within the emergence of jazz via one man's extraordinary odyssey. After an early commence in Washington, Europe came across his repute in big apple, the leisure capital of turn-of-the-century the USA. within the decade sooner than 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 large depths and pursuits, consistently intending to win reputation for black musicians and wider popularity for his or her track. He toiled continually, engaged on gain live shows, becoming a member of fingers with W.E.B. Du Bois, and supporting to chanced on a black tune school--all the whereas successful advertisement and demanding good fortune along with his selected paintings. In 1910, he helped create the Clef membership, making it the greatest African-American musical association within the nation in the course of his presidency. each year from 1912 to 1914, Europe led the Clef membership orchestra in victorious live shows at Carnegie corridor, successful new respectability and recognition for ragtime. He went directly to a drastically profitable collaboration with Vernon and Irene citadel, 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 vast impact. In global battle I, the musical pioneer gained new status because the first African-American officer to guide males into strive against 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 means of hurricane with the recent sounds of jazz. In 1919, the warriors back to manhattan in triumph, and Europe used to be the toast of the town. Then, quite a few months later, he was once dead--stabbed to dying via 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, track, and racial clash, Badger deftly captures the turbulent, promising age of ragtime, and the drama of a victorious lifestyles lower brief.

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Extra info for A Life in Ragtime: A Biography of James Reese Europe

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James, who was then nine and called "Jim," attended the third grade at Lincoln Grammar School on Capital Hill. 15 In addition to his musical aptitude, Jim Europe demonstrated a strong personality and a natural organizational ability. His physical size—as noted earlier, he was tall and stocky—certainly helped. "He would be sent to the store," his sister recalled, "but he would return with a little group of playmates tagging after him. Wherever he went boys flocked around him. He swayed them willingly.

In May 1893, the first public competitive drill drew a large audience to Metropolitan A. M. E. Church, and the popularity of the activity with both high school students and the public grew dramatically thereafter. 32 With his outgoing personality and his musical interests, Jim Europe was quickly recruited into the high school cadets. 33 Like many an ex-high school football star, he was proud of his high school experience and never forgot it. "34 Europe's cadet training would later prove useful when he sought to organize the black musicians of New York; it was undoubtedly helpful to him as an officer in the 15th New York Infantry Regiment in World War I.

S. Government Printing Office; John struggled to establish himself as a professional musician and music instructor. James, who was now enrolled at the M Street High School, and Mary, who would follow him in 1896, continued to receive regular private musical instruction, including, by some accounts, instruction in theory and instrumentation under Hans Hanke, a former member of the Leipzig Conservatory. They also began to provide positive evidence of 22 A L I F E IN R A G T I M E their developing talents.

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