From Ragtime to Jazz: The Music of James Reese Europe
Thu, April 18 @ 7:30 pm
California State Military Reserve Band
Music director James Lamb and members of the California State Military Reserve Band bring to life the fascinating story of James Europe, whose musical innovations helped transform ragtime to what became the Jazz Age of the 1920s. Combining narrative, images, video, and live music, the presentation charts the story of this groundbreaking African-American musician and soldier, who broke barriers from the stage of Carnegie Hall to the battlefields of World War I.
A gifted conductor and composer James Reese Europe was a leading figure in New York’s African-American music scene, credited for bringing the popular music to a broader mainstream audience. He desegregated Broadway and the musician’s union, adapted the use of saxes and the drum set in jazz music, landed the first recording contract of an African-American ensemble, and invented the Fox Trot. His orchestra was the first to perform jazz at Carnegie Hall, 26 years before Benny Goodman.
When the US entered World War I, Jim Europe enlisted in the National Guard and was sent to France, where he became the first African-American to lead troops in battle. He was wounded and sent back to lead the band he helped form. As they introduced jazz music throughout Europe, they became international celebrities.
“From Ragtime to Jazz,” presented in 2017 at The Presidio in San Francisco, was endorsed by the World War I Centennial Commission. All of the music performed is historically accurate compositions and scores as played by Jim Europe’s ensembles, using instruments common to the period to accurately reproduce the music as it sounded 100 years ago.
FREE community concert. Tickets required. Limit 4/family.