Black History Culture : James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by ct, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. ct

    ct Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    About James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant

    James Reese Europe was an early jazz pioneer and war hero whose talents and patriotism knew no boundaries. Against all odds Mr.Europe advanced his cause as well as the cause of millions of Black Americans to the highest reaches of society. He formed the first significant all Black musician union and booking agency in the United States (The Clef Club)at a time when Blacks were not allowed to join all White musician unions, his orchestra was the first Black music group to ever record a record as well as to play the prestigious Carnegie Hall concert venue in New York City. As Lt. Europe, James Reese Europe made military and music history as well by being the first Black to lead troops into battle during World War One and to spread the 'jazz germ' throughout continental Europe while bandleader of the greatest military jazz band of the most decorated regiment of the entire war, The New York 15TH National Guard Unit a.k.a. The Harlem Hellfighters. Ironically, Mr. Europe endured the hardships of racism and war to achieve all of these wonderful and amazing things only to die a senseless tragic death at the hands of one of his musicians at the young age of 39. Please join the artist known as R2C2H2 for a highly informative and visually expressive pictorial narrative of a man whose untimely murder on the verge of The Jazz Age he helped to create left him and his work almost in anonymity. By reading this book, James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant you will see why we should celebrate and rejoice in the life and legacy of Lt.James Reese Europe who according to the great Eubie Blake was the savior of Negro musicians and who is in a class with Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.

    To check out great illustrated images from the book James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant by R2C2H2 Tha Artivist please click here

    To learn more about me and the other things that I do please check out these following sites:

    http://www.r2c2h2.com/r2c2h2.html
    http://www.soldierboygrip.blogspot.com
    http://www.weallbe.com
    http://www.thaartivist.blogspot.com

    Book Reviews:

    Well Known Jazz Enthusiast John Gilbert: This is a book of historical significance in both jazz, race relations and heroism.

    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, hislegacy 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 and heroism.


    Well Known Musicologist Dr. Price Sings Jazz Lieutenant's Praises!!!, August 25, 2005

    This exemplary combination of biography, chronicle and illustrations of one of "our" great forgotten heroes is perhaps one of the most innovative publications in recent years. The product of meticulous research, strategic assembly and an obvious intimate connection to the life, deeds and legacy of James Reese Europe, R2C2H2 has taken art and scholarship to a place not visited since the days of Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, John Coltrane and most recently Tupac Shakur. I am humble enough to say I learned a great deal from the wealth of research and the rich perspective that [R2C2H2] offers. I really enjoyed learning about sister Mary Europe, I had no idea of that connection nor of her greatness!!! R2C2H2, through his unique aesthetic and independent voice has given us a history lesson in a fashion that no historian could do. Through this book we feel, experience and see the struggles that Lieutenant Europe faced, reveling in his victories while lamenting in his untimely and unfortunate demise. Yet, because of R2C2H2's ability to tell the story that needs to be told, Lieutenant Europe lives. The art adds another dimension as it personalizes [R2C2H2's] intimate connection with "the jazz lieutenant" offering more than just a book, more than just a pictorial biography, but a magnus opus!!! This is a monumental achievement that is only surpassed by its ability to captivate the reader from cover to cover in a mysterious yet historically correct realm of the past. The book is wonderful, my only regret is that I was unable to unpack it and dive into it when it first arrived... but I was greatly pleased!!!


    Tisha St. Clair of Sister Nineties Literary Magazine

    R2C2H2's book about the life of James Reese Europe was an informative and delightful read. Not only was he the author, but also the brilliant illustrator. R2C2H2 used his drawings to punctuate the story of Europe's life. Especially haunting was the picture entitled "Welcome to Spartanburg, South Carolina!!!" R2C2H2's words told of the harsh treatment of Europe and his band, but the picture truly shows the ugliness of racism, prejudice and segregation. R2C2H2 captures the loathing and hate in the eyes of the white southerners.

    R2C2H2 includes many of the ground-breaking achievements of James Reese Europe, and the composers and musicians that benefited from his hard work. One of Europe's crowning achievements, prior to World War I, was creation The Clef Club, the first black musician's union and booking agency. This agency was responsible for getting black musicians the same or sometimes better pay than their white counter-parts, and ensuring they would be treated as professionals rather than traveling minstrels. During WWI Europe served as the commanding officer of the 15th Regiment Band. The band was well received in France. Europe and his men also became fierce soldiers, despite a lack of training from the United States Army.
    They were awarded numerous medals from the French government during the war.

    Some of Europe's other achievements included working with Eubie Blake, Vernon and Irene Castle; performing at Carnegie Hall; establishing a music school for aspiring black musicians; and re-establishing the black musical theater art form. I really don't want to tell you much more, because you really need to read all about it yourself.

    Through this book, R2C2H2 introduced me to James Reese Europe, a visionary and pioneer. Any primary school aged child could benefit from reading this book. It shows how a person can overcome obstacles to achieve his goals. Any lover of jazz would find this book enlightening and may prompt them to search for some new (old) music for their collection. Any admirer of R2C2H2's work would be please to have a gallery of his drawings at their fingertips.


    Armond Stewart


    It's always refreshing and enriching to finish a book and feel enlightened. R2C2H2 has done a great job in writing about the life of this American pioneer. R2C2H2 not only informs the reader of James Reese Europe, but also the time period in which he lived. You won't be disappointed!
     
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