James Reese Europe (February 22, 1881 - May 9, 1919) was an American ragtime and early jazz bandleader, arranger, and composer. During World War I he obtained a Commission in the New York Army National Guard, where he saw combat as a lieutenant with the 3

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James Reese Europe (February 22, 1881 - May 9, 1919) was an American ragtime and early jazz bandleader, arranger, Stock Photo
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James Reese Europe (February 22, 1881 - May 9, 1919) was an American ragtime and early jazz bandleader, arranger, and composer. During World War I he obtained a Commission in the New York Army National Guard, where he saw combat as a lieutenant with the 3
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James Reese Europe (February 22, 1881 - May 9, 1919) was an American ragtime and early jazz bandleader, arranger, and composer. During World War I he obtained a Commission in the New York Army National Guard, where he saw combat as a lieutenant with the 369th Infantry Regiment (the Harlem Hellfighters). He went on to direct the regimental band to great acclaim. He and his military band travelled over 2,000 miles in France, performing for British, French and American military audiences as well as French civilians. After his return home in February 1919 he stated, "I have come from France more firmly convinced than ever that Negros should write Negro music. We have our own racial feeling and if we try to copy whites we will make bad copies. We won France by playing music which was ours and not a pale imitation of others, and if we are to develop in America we must develop along our own lines." On the night of May 9, 1919, Europe performed for the last time. He was stabbed in the neck by his drummer, Herbert Wright and died from the injury, at the age of 38. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.