Composer and pianist Jason Moran, artistic director of the Kennedy Center Jazz program and a MacArthur fellow, presents a meditation on the life, combat service, and legacy of American musician and jazz composer James Reese Europe, who created the band of World War I’s African-American 369th regiment, the Harlem Hellfighters, and helped popularize jazz throughout France.
More about James Reese Europe
Born in Mobile, Alabama 15 years after Appomattox, composer/conductor James Reese Europe took idiomatically pure African-American music to Carnegie Hall and inspired a generation’s worth of artists to challenge any and all racial barriers in their way. In 1918, he gave up an ever-burgeoning career to lead what became known as the Harlem Hellfighters. He died the following year, stabbed by an unstable band member after a concert in Boston.
Generously supported by the Koret Jazz Project