On New Year’s Day 1918, James Reese Europe – an iconic figure in the evolution of African-American music – landed in Brest with the Harlem Hellfighters. As well as their achievements in combat, Europe’s crack military music ensemble popularised the new spirit of jazz to a war-torn French nation fascinated with black culture. And this is but the beginning of a story that continues to fascinate and intrigue.
A century later, composer, pianist and visual artist Jason Moran celebrates the legacy of a hero of black music.The performing ensemble will include members of Moran’s long-established trio, the Bandwagon, and a group of brass and wind players drawn from today’s richly talented new generation of British musicians.
Jason Moran – The Harlem Hellfighters; James Reese Europe and the Absence of Ruin is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, Serious and the John F. Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Co-produced by Berliner Festspiele / Jazzfest Berlin
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