Jason Moran and the Harlem Hellfighters

James Reese Europe and the Absence of Ruin
Berklee Performance Center

Brilliant pianist, composer, and multimedia artist Jason Moran turns his boundless creativity and curiosity to a celebration of the life of often-overlooked African American musical pioneer James Reese Europe.  

Europe was already a key figure in the development of jazz as a genre, when, during his service in the First World War, he established a band that would change the course of music history. As the bandleader for the 369th Infantry Regiment (the “Harlem Hellfighters”), Europe is credited with introducing jazz music to the European continent and helping spread African American culture across the world. 

For this program, entitled James Reese Europe and the Absence of Ruin, Moran and his Bandwagon bandmates augment their numbers with a seven-piece horn section. Moran shares archival photos, recordings, and original multimedia creations to help build his musical monument to a truly transformational artist.  

“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.”

Washington Post

“The most provocative thinker in current jazz. ”

Rolling Stone

Berklee Performance Center Information

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