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C&L's Late Nite Music Club With James Reese Europe

For tonight's Music Club, we have one of the first jazz artists to start bridging the racial gap in the genre.

At that time, jazz was still seen as vulgar to many people, mostly white people. But when they put two elegant ballroom dancers (Vernon and Irene Castle) in front of the jazz band, suddenly ragtime jazz became more palatable to a wider audience. Europe was also responsible for creating one of the first professional, commercial black band. They were one of, if not the first, all-black band to record their music and were all masters of their respective instruments. In fact, most people at that time didn't know that the band could even read music, even though they were probably the best in the country at it. With that in mind, Europe kept up the charade, opting to get early prints of tin pan alley songs and have his band memorize it in a few rehearsals, making their audiences think that they could hear a new song and instantly be able to play it by ear. A truly amazing musician and bandleader by all standards.

Got any favorite bandleaders?

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