[JPL] Jazz in France

Eric Jackson eric-jackson at comcast.net
Fri Sep 12 08:50:06 EDT 2008

Jae Sinnett wrote:

> JPL'ers...some help needed. I will be giving a few lectures on jazz and one is on American Jazz in France from the end of the first World War to about 1950 at Old Dominion University. I need to brush up in this category so any recommendations on what to research would be greatly appreciated.
> Jae Sinnett  

Although some question whether his music was really jazz, I've heard it 
said that James Reese Europe was the person who introduced France to 
jazz. He worked with the popular dance team of Vernon & Irene Castle 
before the war, providing music that helped popularize a number of 
dances. His military unit, the 369th Hellfighters were stationed in 
France during World War I. The band also played while they were in 
France. They were awarded the medal of honor from the French governments 
for their efforts during the war. Europe and the unit returned home 
where they led a victory parade in NY. I believe the Drum Major for the 
unit was Bill Bojangles Robinson. There is a recording of them doing the 
Song How You Gonna Get Them Back On The Farm Again After they've Seen 
Paree? Sadly, Europe was killed in Boston in 1919 by the drummer in his 
band who cut him on his throat while they were performing at Boston's 
Mechanics Hall. In another twist to this story, Roy Haynes claims he 
studied drums with the man with the knife.

I went to the Marciac Jazz Festival in France a couple years ago on a 
WGBH sponsored trip. There is a statue of Wynton Marsalis right outside 
the main square. The building behind it is the Jazz Museum. They had 
some very interesting photos, not much memorabilia but it was very 
interesting. They did have an autograph wall filled with the signatures 
of people who I assume had played there. I took pictures of the wall. I 
was just surprised to find a jazz museum. How many cities in the U.S. 
have jazz museums?

Eric Jackson
Mon - Thurs 8 pm - mid.
89.7 FM WGBH Boston

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