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                                                100 years ago in France: suddenly, jazz!

February 12, 1918, in Nantes, the Harlem Hellfighters’ band led by James Reese Europe gave one of the first ever jazz concerts in
Europe.

‘The drummers hit their stride with shoulders shaking in syncopated time, and Europe turned to the trombones “patiently waiting for their cue to have a jazz
spasm. The audience could stand it no longer, the jazz germ’ hit them and
it seemed to find the vital spot loosening all muscles and causing what is
known in America as an eagle rocking it.’

‘There
now, we brought this band over here and started ragtimitis in France; ain’t this
an awful thing to do to a nation with so many burdens? But when the
band had finished and the people were roaring with laughter, their faces
wreathed in smiles, I was forced to say that this is just what France needs at
this critical moment.’
Noble Sissle


A Life in Ragtime: A Biography of James
Reese Europe
– Photo: James Reese Europe aka Jim Europe and the Harlem
Hellfighters Band playing in France

France remembers: “Nantes Celebrates 100 years of Jazz” – Also, this great Twitter account: 100 ans de jazz en Europe. 1918-2018