Mars Hill University professor of history and Asheville musician, Dr. David Gilbert, will be hosting a CD Release Party for the companion CD to his book, The Product of Our Souls. This CD, from the Grammy-nominated historical record label Archeophone Records, features the syncopated dance band sounds of James Reese Europe, the man behind the mostly-forgotten soundtrack to pre-World War I “Black Manhattan” during the craze in ragtime music and dance. Remastered for the first time, James Europe’s eight recordings for Victor Talking Machine Co. in 1913 and 1914 recall a time when African Americans were just making headway in American popular entertainment, a time before jazz and blues dominated the landscape and black and white New Yorkers alike danced the One-step and Foxtrot everywhere from lowdown saloons to Carnegie Hall. The CD also features remasters of 14 other James Europe compositions performed by the leading white dance bands of the era.
Come spend an evening with Dr. Gilbert as he gives historical context to these important recordings and also performs with a small ragtime band made up of leading Asheville musicians, Mike Savino (Tall Tall Trees), Matt Williams, and Jon Lauterer.
This event will take place in the Ramsey Center, which is located in the back of Renfro Library on the campus of Mars Hill University. The evening is free and open to all.