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Black History: Special Delivery!!

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James Reese Europe:  The Martin Luther King Of Music

Black History: Special Delivery!!

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James R. Europe (1881 – 1919)

James Reese Europe (1881 – 1919) was born in Mobile Alabama. Europe’s father was previously enslaved. His parents were both musicians; with his mother reading music and his father only playing by ear. The family relocated to Washington DC in 1889 where his father worked for the post office. At the age of 14, he entered a music writing competition and won second place. At the age of 22, Europe made New York City, his new home. He also composed music for the group, “Memphis Students” while there. During his time with the Memphis Students, but without his knowledge, Europe influenced George Gershwin. Gershwin recalled sitting outside of the club in Harlem as a seven year old boy listening to James Europe play.

In 1910, Europe co-founded “The Clef Club”. The Clef Club was in part, a fraternal organization for African American musicians. It also served as talent agency and trade union for African American musicians. The Clef Club purchased a building on W. 53rd Street in New York City. The location served as both a club and a booking office. James Europe was its first elected president and symphony orchestra conductor. In 1912, The Clef Club Orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall to rave reviews. This performance was also hailed as having a positive influence on race relations. It was the first African American jazz band to play at Carnegie Hall. The orchestra featured approximately 125-150 musicians playing for a diverse crowd of black and white patrons. The orchestra’s performances at Carnegie Hall gave them wide acclaim with white society and opened up opportunities for them to perform at other elite functions in New York, London, and Paris. The Clef Club not only supported musicians but other entertainers as well; thereby helping to improve working conditions for many of them. It was common at that time, that musicians would often be hired as waiters and bartenders who, might also provide musical entertainment. When a musical entertainer, or group was hired through The Clef Club, they were hired solely as entertainers and were paid a salary, transportation expenses, and lodging.

Continue reading “James Reese Europe:  The Martin Luther King Of Music”

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: 1st Rap Artists To Win A Grammy Award

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

  

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Jeffrey Townes aka “DJ Jazzy Jeff” (left), Will Smith aka “The Fresh Prince” (right)

On February 22, 1989, DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jeffrey Townes) and The Fresh Prince (Will Smith) won the first Rap Grammy Award, for “Best Rap Performance” for their hit single, “Parents Just Don’t Understand” written by Ready Rock C (Clarence Holmes).  The group eventually sold over 5 million albums worldwide.  The rap group formed in 1986.  At the time the group launched, the Grammy Awards did not include a hip hop category.  This did not occur until 1989.  Though the group was nominated the category nomination was not going to be televised.  The group was however, asked to perform their hit single at the Grammy Awards Show.  Continue reading “DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: 1st Rap Artists To Win A Grammy Award”

Al Jarreau Dead At 76

Black History:  Special Delivery!!


We have lost another legend!   Al Jarreau has passed away early Sunday morning on.February 12, 2017. He was recently hospitalized for exhaustion in Los Angeles and had cancelled his tour schedule.

Jarreau released his first album at age 35 in 1975.  The 7 time grammy award winning artist was know as the “Acrobat of Scat”.   Jarreau released 16 albums during his career. Truly an iconic voice is now silent!

He leaves behind his wife Susan, and son Ryan.

What’s you favorite Al Jarreau song?   One my favorites is, “We’re In This Love Together”.

Ebony Magazine has some great info about his life.  Check it out!EBONY http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/al-jarreau-dead#ixzz4YUobKeeG

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