Events & Tickets
The Sound Heard Around the World: The Music of James Reese Europe
New World Center, Michael Tilson Thomas Performance Hall
- Branford Marsalis, bandleader, saxophone and arranger
- Chad Goodman, conductor
- Russell Motley, host
- Tammy Kernodle, festival curator, musicologist and host
- Blake / Sissle : Selections from Shuffle Along
- Cook : “Swing Along!” from Three Negro Songs
- de Mesquita : Castle Innovation Waltz
- Macklin : "Too Much Mustard"
- Logatti : El Irresistible
- Europe : Castle House Rag
- Smith : "Ballin' the Jack"
- Bethel : That Moaning Trombone
- David / Hewitt : "Arabian Nights"
- Handy : The Memphis Blues
Through music and narration, the Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and bandleader Branford Marsalis guides New World Symphony in sharing the story of James Reese Europe, the trailblazing musician who brought ragtime into the mainstream and went on to be remembered as “the Martin Luther King Jr. of music.”
This concert is part of the I Dream a World festival. Click here for a full listing of festival events.
LE PARIS NOIR: HENRY OSSAWA TANNER & LOÏS MAILOU JONES
February 3-12, 2023
New World Center, Clinton Family Fund Ensemble Room
Christopher Norwood, curator and founder of Hampton Art Lovers at the Historic Ward Rooming House, curates an installation from The Norwood Collection with art and related works of African American painters Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) & Loïs Mailou Jones (1905-1998). As the first internationally recognized male and female African American artists, they both found human and artistic freedom in France. Ticketholders can view the exhibition throughout the duration of the festival.
I Dream a World Festival Pass
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Eubie Blake / Noble Sissle
(1881-1983 / 1889-1975)
Arranged by Lester Brockman
Selections from Shuffle Along
Will Marion Cook
Arranged by Maurice Baron
“Swing Along!” from Three Negro Songs
Carlos de Mesquita
Arranged by Carl F. Williams
Castle Innovation Waltz
Arranged by Emil Ascher
"Too Much Mustard"
Arranged by [G. J. S. W.]
James Reese Europe
Arranged by Carl F. Williams
Castle House Rag
"Ballin' the Jack"
Carl D. Bethel
Arranged by Branford Marsalis
That Moaning Trombone
Mack David / William Hewitt
Arranged by Mack David
William Christopher Handy
Arranged by Branford Marsalis
The Memphis Blues
THE SOUND HEARD AROUND THE WORLD
On August 10, 2021, the U.S. Congress awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the 369th Infantry regiment. Commonly known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” this regiment was significant in ensuring the Allied victory during World War I. The awarding of these medals was one of restorative justice, reversing the erasure of the contributions of Black soldiers. But it also unmasked one of the forgotten chapters in America’s musical history—the the triumphant rise of James Reese Europe.
As leader of the Hellfighters’ regimental band, James Reese Europe sparked a cultural revolution that rippled throughout Europe during the interwar years. His influence on American and European music during the first two decades of the 20th century cannot be overstated. Jim Europe was second only to John Philip Sousa in popularity and was also key to the globalization of Black music in the decades that preceded the Harlem Renaissance.
Born in Mobile, Alabama in 1881, James Reese Europe’s early life exemplified the hope for racial justice, social change and the pursuit of upward mobility that underscored Black life in post-Reconstruction America. His family moved to Washington, D.C. during his formative years and it was in the vibrancy of the city’s Black community that Europe excelled. Early on he displayed a consciousness that was defined by the embodied Black excellence of the New Negro aesthetic, a keen entrepreneurial vision and an awareness that music could serve as a conduit for social change. Each would be key to his ascendancy as a leader within the community of Black musicians, composers and songwriters that settled in New York during the first decade of the 20th century.
Jim Europe came to prominence working in Black musical theatre productions and much of this work was central to shifting the context of Black representations on the stage away from the racial stereotypes that lingered from minstrelsy. He was keenly aware of the economic exploitation that Black musicians experienced and the lack of union representation and advocacy. So, in 1908 he joined a collective of Black musicians, conductors and composers in forming the Clef Club. One part social club, one part labor union and one part community orchestra, the Clef Club embodied a new framing of Black music and the Black musician at a crucial in American history.
In 1912 Europe led 120 members of the Clef Club in a historic concert at Carnegie Hall. It marked the first time an all-Black orchestra performed at the venue. Beyond its historic significance, this concert and subsequent ones given in 1913 and 1914, were significant in changing public perceptions regarding Black musicians and elevating a Black concert aesthetic. These concerts also catapulted Jim Europe to national prominence.
In the ensuing years, he would widen his cultural footprint through a collaboration with famed dancers Vernon and Irene Castle and his recognition of the potential that resided in the emerging technology of the record. The latter was represented through a three year (1913-16) recording stint with the Victor Company. These recordings foreshadowed the sounds that would be marketed as jazz in the 1920s and preserved the legacy of the Europe Society Orchestra, as few of his original scores exist. This same group provided accompaniment to the array of dances that Vernon and Irene Castle popularized during this period. The racial coupling of the European-born Castles and James Europe’s Black orchestra marked a significant shift in America’s attitudes regarding ragtime and blues, as well as the dance culture that derived from them.
As the war in Europe continued to escalate, James Europe and Vernon Castle decided to suspend their careers and enlist. The British-born Castle joined the Royal Air Force, while Europe joined the all-Black National Guard unit being formed in New York. In addition to serving in the machine gun squadron, Jim Europe was also assigned to lead a regimental military band.
He recruited Black musicians from all over the country, but also traveled to Puerto Rico. There he encountered highly skilled musicians who developed their talents performing in the municipal bands that spread across the island. Of the 40 musicians that made up the Hellfighters Regimental Band, 18 were Afro-Puerto Rican. The coupling of Black American and Afro-Puerto Rican musicians greatly enlarges the cultural and racial context of the Hellfighters’ legacy and represents how a shared history of slavery, racism and colonialism connects African people worldwide. The decision to support the U.S. war effort abroad correlated with a larger hope that the display of patriotism by Black men would precipitate social change. Despite the miliary successes of the Hellfighters, little changed in America’s racial politics following the war. But the Hellfighters regimental band enacted significant culture change in Europe, that ignited a type of cultural dialogue that continues to exist between the continent and the Black Diaspora.
The band’s concerts in 1918 and 1919 introduced French audiences to not only ragtime and blues, but also Black hymnody and concert music. The influence of this group continued even after their return to the U.S. following the War.
James Reese Europe’s untimely death in 1919 marked the end of an epoch that extended back to 1892 when America’s cultural, social and political identity began to shift out of the provincial shadow of Europe. Despite not living long enough to witness or participate in the cresting of the Harlem Renaissance, Europe's contributions resonated throughout the movement. He linked the 19th century context of New Negro ideology with that promoted by the Renaissance intelligentsia during the 1920s and 1930s, and his music foreshadowed the aura of cultural modernism that underscored the interwar years. Lastly, James Reese Europe’s promotion of the Black composer, the Black orchestra and a Black concert idiom laid an important foundation for accomplishments realized by the generation of Black composers and musicians that emerged during the Renaissance movement.
—Dr. Tammy L. Kernodle
Dr. Tammy L. Kernodle is University Distinguished Professor at Miami University in Ohio. Her scholarship and teaching have been primarily in the areas of African American music (classical and popular), jazz, and gender and popular music. She served as the Scholar in Residence for the Women in Jazz Initiative at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City (1999-2001) and has worked closely with a number of educational programs including the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, Jazz@Lincoln Center, NPR, Rock `n' Roll Hall of Fame Lecture series and the BBC. She is the author of biography Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams and served as Associate Editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of African American Music. She holds degrees from The Ohio State University and Virginia State University and is curator of the New World Symphony's annual I Dream a World festival.
Branford Marsalis continues to thrill audiences around the world while racking up achievements across diverse musical platforms, even after four decades in the international spotlight. From his initial recognition as a young jazz lion, he has expanded his vision as an instrumentalist, composer, bandleader and educator, crossing stylistic boundaries while maintaining an unwavering creative integrity. In the process, he has become an avatar of contemporary artistic excellence winning three Grammy Awards, a Tony nomination for his work as a composer on Broadway, a citation by the National Endowment for the Arts as Jazz Master, and a 2021 Primetime EMMY nomination for the score he composed for the Tulsa Burning documentary.
Growing up in the rich environment of New Orleans as the oldest son of pianist and educator, the late Ellis Marsalis, Branford was drawn to music along with siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. The Branford Marsalis Quartet, formed in 1986, remains his primary performance vehicle. In its virtually uninterrupted three-plus decades of existence, the Quartet has established a rare breadth of stylistic range as demonstrated on the band’s latest release:
The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul. But Branford has not confined his music to the jazz quartet context. A frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Branford has become increasingly sought after as a featured soloist with acclaimed orchestras around the world, performing works by composers such as Copeland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem, Vaughan Williams and Villa-Lobos. And his legendary guest performances with the Grateful Dead and collaborations with Sting have made him a fan favorite in the pop arena.
Branford’s screen credits as a composer include original music for: Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks starring Oprah Winfrey, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom starring Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman and the History Channel’s documentary Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre. The critically acclaimed Ma Rainey is the Netflix film adaptation of two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play, produced by Denzel Washington. And in reviewing the score Vanity Fair proclaimed “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a story in which the music has to be authentic and the details need to be correct. It requires the musical oversight of someone who has this history in his blood. It requires Branford Marsalis.” While The Guardian noted “Marsalis’s work, both recreation and original composition, is as close to perfection as I could imagine.” He recently received a 2021 EMMY nomination for the original music he composed and produced for Tulsa Burning in the Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Score) category. His work on Broadway has garnered a Drama Desk Award and a Tony nomination for the acclaimed revival of Fences. His previous Broadway efforts include music for the revivals of Children of a Lesser God and A Raisin in the Sun, as well as The Mountaintop which starred Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson.
Branford has also shared his knowledge as an educator, forming extended teaching relationships at Michigan State, San Francisco State and North Carolina Central Universities and conducting workshops at sites throughout the United States and the world.
In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, Branford, along with friend Harry Connick, Jr., conceived of “Musicians’ Village,” a residential community in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans. The centerpiece of the Village is the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, honoring Branford’s father. The Center uses music as the focal point of a holistic strategy to build a healthy community and to deliver a broad range of services to underserved children, youth and musicians from neighborhoods battling poverty and social injustice.
With a flair for inventive programming and a bold presence on stage and in the community, Chad Goodman has been praised for "bringing innovation to classical music" (Forbes).
As the Conducting Fellow of the New World Symphony, Mr. Goodman conducts on subscription, education, family and holiday programs. His program, “SPARK: How Composers Find Inspiration,” blended captivating light design and videography with engaging audience participation to explore how a composition is created and brought to life by an orchestra.
Since 2018 Mr. Goodman has served as an Assistant Conductor to the San Francisco Symphony, assisting Esa-Pekka Salonen, Manfred Honeck, Daniel Harding, Pablo Heras-Casado, Simone Young and James Gaffigan among others.
Mr. Goodman's 2022-23 Season will include debut appearances with the Elgin Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, Greensboro Symphony and San Francisco Chamber Orchestra.
As Founder and Artistic Director of Elevate Ensemble, Mr. Goodman’s ambitious vision for concert programming resulted in the pairing of music from Bay Area composers with underappreciated gems of the 20th and 21st centuries. Under his leadership, Elevate Ensemble established a Composer-in-Residence program and commissioned fifteen works from Bay Area composers. Elevate collaborated with photographers, videographers, poets and culinary artists, bringing new music and vibrant multi-genre experiences to unique venues such as yoga studios, historic Victorian homes and art studio warehouses.
Mr. Goodman has previously served as Conducting Fellow of Festival Napa Valley, Music Director of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, Conducting Fellow of the Atlantic Music Festival, and a rehearsal and cover conductor for the San Francisco Ballet.
In addition to his performing career, he teaches young musicians the business and entrepreneurial skills needed to successfully navigate the world as a working musician in his workshop “You Earned a Music Degree. Now What?”
Mr. Goodman holds a bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master of music degree from San Francisco State University. His mentors include Michael Tilson Thomas, Alasdair Neale, Cyrus Ginwala and Martin Seggelke.
Russell Motley, host
Russell Motley teaches broadcast journalism at Florida Memorial University (FMU) in Miami Gardens, FL. He joined FMU in 2010 following a 20-year career as a local TV news anchor and reporter.
Prior to joining FMU, Motley served as the primary anchor for ABC 27 News in Tallahassee, Fla. In 2006, he joined CBS 47 News in Jacksonville, FL, as a reporter and 5:30 p.m. news anchor. Motley also worked in Madison, WI, and Tulsa, OK, where he covered his first major breaking news story: the Oklahoma City bombing.
Motley earned a Bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Miami. He earned a Master's in communications from Florida A&M University (FAMU). While at FAMU, he researched how African Americans have been portrayed throughout the history of Super Bowl commercials.
While in graduate school, Motley also conducted extensive research on movie pioneer Richard Norman, a white filmmaker in the 1920s who produced silent race films in Jacksonville, FL. Unlike most commercial films released in the 1920s, Norman's films (e.g., The Flying Ace, Black Gold) featured positive portrayals of blacks as pilots, educators, lawyers and cowboys.
While at FAMU, also Motley produced a documentary, traveling to South America to film a medical mission in the most remote, pristine areas of Guyana. Motley served as writer, photographer, and editor on the project.
Motley serves on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Black Journalists Association. He is a mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Miami.
Dr. Tammy L. Kernodle is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Music at Miami University (Ohio), who specializes in African American music (concert and popular) and gender studies in music.
Her scholarship explores the intersection of gender and racial identity, performance practice and musical genre. Her work has appeared in major peer-reviewed journals including American Studies, Musical Quarterly, Black Music Research Journal, The Journal of the Society of American Music (JSAM), American Music Research Journal, The U.S Catholic Historian, and the Journal of the American Musicological Society (JAMS). She also was a contributor to The African American Lectionary Project, the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap and the Carnegie Hall Digital Timeline of African American Music. Her scholarship also appears in numerous anthologies and reference works including Women’s Voices Across Musical Worlds, John Coltrane and Black America’s Quest for Freedom: Spirituality and the Music, and The Cambridge Companion to Women in Music Since 1900.
Kernodle is the author of biography Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams (new edition, University of Illinois Press, 2020) She also served as Associate Editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of African American Music and as one of the Editors for the revision of the New Grove Encyclopedia of American Music.
Kernodle served as the Scholar in Residence for the Women in Jazz Initiative at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City from 1999 until 2001. She has worked closely with a number of educational programs including the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, Jazz@Lincoln Center, NPR, Canadian Public Radio, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and the BBC.
From 2012-2016, Kernodle served as a scholarly consultant for the exhibits entitled “Musical Crossroads” at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She appears in a number of award-winning documentaries including Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band, Girls in the Band, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, and How It Feels to Be Free.
In 2014, she received the Effective Educator Award from the Miami University Alumni Association and in 2018 was awarded the Benjamin Harrison Medallion. The Harrison Award is the highest award given to a Miami University faculty member in recognition of their research, teaching and service. She is the immediate Past President of the Society for American Music.