[A look back to the future of African-American music]

WDR Big Band feat. Jazzmeia Horn / Jason Moran – The Harlem Hellfighters

Jason Moran, Jazzmeia Horn

Jason Moran, Jazzmeia Horn

© Clay Patrick McBride, Jacob Blickenstaff

Past Dates

WDR Big Band feat. Jazzmeia Horn
Shining in-house orchestras and big bands are an integral part of classic German radio culture. Like the WDR Big Band, they have set milestones along the way and carried the tonal colours of a great variety of guest musicians into the world with grandeur, delicacy and vibrancy. What could be more beautiful than a young voice like that of Jazzmeia Horn (*1992), rooted deep in African-American tradition, filling classics of jazz and soul with life, carried by a profound, luxuriating orchestra like the WDR Big Band! In last year’s debut “A Social Call”, she set new standards of powerful impact in her spiritual and urgent investigation of two pillars of African-American music: “Afro Blue” and “Wade in the Water”. Jazzmeia Horn is a new, highly dynamic and virtuoso voice from Dallas/Texas, helping herself to all known stylistic devices – including catchy scats – and finding new uses for them. And it almost goes without saying that she has bagged important awards, among them from the competition of the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz. Ready for Berlin.

Jazzmeia Horn on  Soundcloud
Up Above My Head by Jazzmeia Horn on  YouTube
Jazzmeia Horn on  YouTube
 Website of Jazzmeia Horn
WDR BigBand on  Soundcloud
WDR BigBand on  YouTube
 Website of WDR BigBand

Jason Moran – The Harlem Hellfighters
This transatlantic commissioned and co-produced piece honours the pioneer African- American musician and soldier James Reese Europe and was created by pianist Jason Moran and filmmaker Bradford Young on the occasion of the centenary commemoration of the end of the First World War. It focuses on the life of the visionary artist and the development of African-American music in the US and Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. Jason Moran will be performing a special James Reese Europe programme with his well-known trio Bandwagon and six emerging British musicians attendant on Shabaka Hutchings and Nubya Garcia, as well as 15 young musicians from Berlin.

The 369th Regiment, known as the Harlem Hellfighters, was a volunteer regiment of African-American soldiers assembled shortly after the United States entered into World War I in April of 1917. At the time, the US Army was entirely segregated, excluding African-Americans from combat. Eventually, the Harlem Hellfighters were sent to the front as part of the French armed forces. They distinguished themselves through their determination and bravery, both in serving in the military and fighting for their civil rights and for the recognition of their specific cultural contribution to US-American society. For their service on the front lines, they were awarded the French Croix de Guerre.

One of the Regiment’s most well-known members was musician James Reese Europe (1880–1919), who founded the Clef Club in New York in 1910, an organisation for African-American musicians. The 369er-group gathered around him, and as an experienced bandleader, he formed a regimental band to great acclaim, which, upon their arrival in Brest/France performed for audiences and soldiers. With their syncopated arrangements of famous pieces, such as the Marseillaise, the band left a profound mark on European music.

Jason Moran on  Bandcamp
Jason Moran on  Soundcloud
Jason Moran on  YouTube
 Website of Jason Moran – The Harlem Hellfighters
 Website of Jason Moran

With contributions from John Akomfrah, and visual materials from acclaimed cinematographer Bradford Young

WDR Big Band feat. Jazzmeia Horn (USA/Germany)
A Social Call
German premiere

Bob Mintzer director, arrangements
Jazzmeia Horn vocals
Johan Hörlen alto saxophone
Karolina Strassmayer alto saxophone
Olivier Peters tenor saxophone
Paul Heller tenor saxophone
Jens Neufang bass saxophone
Ludwig Nuss trombone
Alistair Duncan trombone
Mattis Cederberg bass trombone
Andy Hunter trombone
Wim Both trumpet
Ruud Breuls trumpet
Rob Bruynen trumpet
Andy Haderer trumpet
Jaspar Soffers piano
John Goldsby bass
Paul Shigihara guitar
Hans Dekker drums


Jason Moran – The Harlem Hellfighters (USA/United Kingdom)
James Reese Europe & the Absence of Ruin
An audio-visual project with contributions by filmmaker John Akomfrah and cinematographer Bradford Young
German premiere
[A look back to the future of African-American music]

Jason Moran, John Akomfrah & Bradford Young
Ife Ogunjobi trumpet
Joe Bristow trombone
Andy Grappy tuba
Hanna Mubya tuba
Mebrakh Johnson saxophone, clarinet
Kaidi Akinnibi saxophone, clarinet
Alam Nathan saxophone, clarinet
with the Bandwagon’s
Jason Moran piano
Tarus Mateen bass
Nasheet Waits drums

with the participation of the following young Berlin musicians:
Carlotta Gobel flute
Lilli Matzker clarinet
Paula Tennstedt clarinet
Anton Kowalski alto saxophone
Wenzel Benn alto saxophone
Aaron Klenke tenor saxophone
Elina Dalewski trumpet
Elise Hundertmark trumpet
Laszlo Griese trombone
Simeon Prause trombone
Charlotta Gurr french horn
Milena Mette tuba
Maxim Boehm-Tettelbach drums

Rehearsal Director Berliner Ensemble: Nikolaus Neuser

The concert “Jason Moran - The Harlem Hellfighters” is funded by

Logo Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung

Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, Serious, the John F. Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts and Berliner Festspiele / Jazzfest Berlin with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and from the Federal Agency for Civic Education, Germany.

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