By Reid Badger
In 1919, the area stood on the threshhold of the Jazz Age. the fellow who had ushered it there, even if, lay murdered--and could quickly plunge from overseas popularity to ancient obscurity. It used to be a destiny few could have anticipated 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 better heights to return. "People do not understand but this day what we misplaced once we misplaced Jim Europe," stated pianist Eubie Blake. "He was once 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 existence, tracing a serious bankruptcy within the emergence of jazz via one man's impressive odyssey. After an early begin in Washington, Europe came upon his repute in big apple, the leisure capital of turn-of-the-century the United States. 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 goals, consistently meaning to win acceptance for black musicians and wider attractiveness for his or her track. He toiled consistently, engaged on gain concert events, becoming a member of arms with W.E.B. Du Bois, and assisting to stumbled on a black tune school--all the whereas profitable advertisement and demanding luck along with his selected artwork. In 1910, he helped create the Clef membership, making it the best African-American musical association within the state 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 enormously profitable collaboration with Vernon and Irene citadel, the overseas stars who made social dancing a world-wide rage. alongside the way in which, Europe helped to revolutionize American music--and Badger offers interesting info of his concepts and extensive impression. In global struggle I, the musical pioneer received new reputation because the first African-American officer to guide males into strive against in that conflict--but he was once top referred to as 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 via typhoon with the recent sounds of jazz. In 1919, the warriors again to big apple in triumph, and Europe used to be the toast of the town. Then, quite a few months later, he used to be dead--stabbed to loss of life 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, song, and racial clash, Badger deftly captures the turbulent, promising age of ragtime, and the drama of a effective existence reduce brief.
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Additional info for A Life in Ragtime: A Biography of James Reese Europe
33 The trio, who worked out of offices in the Marshall Hotel, would be the principle writers of the lyrics and songs, and Cole and Rosamond Johnson, who had already established themselves as an internationally successful vaudeville act, were also to be the major stars. 34 With a plot conceived largely by Cole, the musical was called The Shoo-Fly Regiment. 32 A L I F E IN R A G T I M E The Shoo-fly Regiment is best characterized as a musical farce in three acts set during the time of the Spanish-American War.
His music gives evidence that he possesses more ability as a composer than he has hitherto been given a chance to exhibit.... 53 The 1907-1908 season with The Smart Set was personally and professionally Jim Europe's most rewarding. After only four years in New York's expanding but extremely competitive popular music business, he had reached a level just shy, perhaps, of the most illustrious of black musical theater's composers and musical directors. There were few aspiring talents, even among those with greater formal training than he, who had risen so quickly.
49 For the new 1907 season, Dudley made a few changes in the script, added some new comedy lines and a "On the Gay Luneta" 35 female chorus, and asked Jim Europe and R. C. McPherson to write new music and lyrics. Europe was also hired to travel with the show as music director. The Black Politician had its debut in Kingston, New York, on September 14, 1907, moved on to Montreal, Ottawa, and other Canadian cities, and then back across the border to Youngstown and Zanesville, Ohio, and Wheeling, West Virginia, in October.
A Life in Ragtime: A Biography of James Reese Europe by Reid Badger