How does war impact art? Jason Moran seeks an answer to this question in the U.S. premiere of The Absence of Ruin, his salute to James Reese Europe, the early African American ragtime musician and first black bandleader who created an international demand for jazz and served as an inspiration to generations of musicians to follow.
A groundbreaking artist and composer, Europe played a pivotal role in the recruitment efforts during the First World War, where his songs became anthems for the young men who fought alongside him. Often called the “Jazz King,” his sound was undeniably one of the most innovative sonic ideas at the time.
Through new arrangements and stunning visual media, including a special film component directed by John Akomfrah (The March) with cinematography by Bradford Young (Selma, Arrival), Moran will explore Europe’s deep musical catalogue and how his achievements continue to affect today’s culture and sound.
This event is presented as part of 14-18 NOW.