• Presidio
    • Events
      • Presidio Dialogues - From Ragtime to Jazz: The Music of James Reese Europe

Presidio Dialogues - From Ragtime to Jazz: The Music of James Reese Europe

Thursday, Nov 02, 06:00 PM - 07:30 PM At Presidio Officers' Club Offered by:

Presidio Trust

PRESIDIO DIALOGUES – Thursday Evenings at 6 pm

Notable authors, artists, and conversation starters explore themes from ancient history to current events through interactive dialogues, stimulating talks, panels, performances, and films.

Presenter CW2 (CA) James Lamb and an eleven-member  National Guard band bring to life the fascinating tale of Jim Europe, a leading figure in the transition from ragtime to jazz. Travelling from the stage of Carnegie Hall to the battlefields of World War I France, the presentation combines narrative, images, video, and live music to chart the story of this groundbreaking African-American musician and soldier. All of the music performed are historically accurate compositions and scores as played by Jim Europe’s ensembles, using instruments common to the period to accurately reproduce the music as it sounded 100 years ago.

Jim Europe was a leading figure on the New York African-American music scene. He achieved much in a short span. He brought African-American music to a broader audience, desegregated Broadway and the musicians union, adapted the use of saxes and the drum set in Jazz, landed the first recording contract of an African-American ensemble, and invented the Fox Trot. His orchestra was the first to perform jazz at Carnegie Hall, 26 years before Benny Goodman. When the US entered World War I he enlisted in the National Guard, was sent to France, and was the first African-American to lead troops in battle. He was wounded and sent back to the band he helped form. That unit introduced jazz to Europe where they became international celebrities. All the while Jim Europe’s innovations changed Ragtime to what became the Jazz Age of the 1920s.

 In commemoration of the World War I Centennial.

CW2 (CA) James Lamb​ is a 30-year music and audio professional and the Assistant Bandmaster for the California State Military Reserve Band. James studied trumpet under Los Angeles’ finest musicians and was awarded a full scholarship to California State University at Northridge's School of Music. Upon leaving CSUN James joined the Navy as a musician where he was arranger, performer, and leader of various ensembles touring the US, Orient, and Australia. After leaving the Navy, James moved to New York City to become a freelance artist. Credits included musical director and arranger for performances at Lincoln Center, the New Jersey Pops Orchestra, the Tavern on the Green, and conducting the New Jersey All Star Big Band. The highlight of his stay in New York was as Music Director/Conductor of the Great American Songbook Orchestra. Performances included a critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut, the Williamson Center for the Performing Arts, and the Harman Center. James founded Point Source Audio in 2004, a premier manufacturer of miniature microphones used on Broadway, broadcast and live performance.

Composite photos of James Reese Europe, 1919, Credit: Thorton

This event is free but due to space constraints registration is required. Please complete the registration process below. Please note that registering does not guarantee admission. Registered guests will be offered priority admission that will be honored until 15 minutes before the start of the event.

Read more about our event registration policy​