James Reese Europe was born on February 22nd, 1880 in Alabama (USA). He studied violin and piano in Washington and became arranger, composer and American ragtime "band leader" and American popular music specialist.
James composed his most famous rag: "Castle House Rag" in 1914. He was the leader of the New York African American musical scene in 1910. He was at the origin of the "Clef Club" for a concert at Carnegie Hall in 1912.
He commanded respect during World War One in the 369th Infantry Regiment with his band: the Harlem Hellfighters which was involved in the introduction of ragtime in Europe.
He was stabbed to death on May 9th, 1919 in a dispute with a member of this group. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.