Jason Moran: James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters
The Absence of Ruin
On New Year’s Day 1918, James Reese Europe, an iconic figure in the evolution of African-American music, landed in France with the Harlem Hellfighters. This crack military music ensemble popularized the new spirit of jazz to a war-torn French nation fascinated with black culture. A century later, Houston native composer, pianist and visual artist Jason Moran celebrates this hero of black music. Experience Moran’s highly personal reflection on the impact of the African-American presence in Europe in the closing years of World War I, and its resonance abroad and in the US. The performance features Moran’s celebrated Bandwagon trio complemented by a seven-piece horn section, contributions from artist/director/screenwriter John Akomfrah, and visual materials from acclaimed cinematographer Bradford Young.
“We already know that Jason Moran is stunningly and profoundly original, even in his treatment of existing material…Knowing it doesn’t prepare one for the stark, sublime beauty of James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters: The Absence of Ruin.” — The Washington Post
“Moran’s tribute keeps the spirit of [James Reese Europe’s] music alive.” – The Guardian
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