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Charleston Rag

Eubie Blake

 

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James Hubert Blake
(February 7th 1887 - February 12th 1983)

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Filmed in Berlin, Germany on November 4th 1972 featuring Eubie Blake at the piano.

"Charleston Rag" was composed by Eubie Blake. It was the pianist's first composition, which he claimed
to have written in 1899.

(Eubie always said he was born in 1883, but his W.W.I draft registration card reveal his actual birth year
to be 1887 making him considerably younger than was previously believed.)


Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1887, James Hubert Blake began his musical training at the age of four
after he was discovered to be a child prodigy while visiting a local music store.

In 1907 he landed his first paid gig playing the piano at Gans' Goldfield Hotel, the first "black and tan club"
in Baltimore.

By 1912 Eubie stated performing in vaudeville with James Reese Europe's "Society Orchestra" and by 1915
he had leaned to write music.

During his time with Europe's Band, Eubie also became acquainted with singer Nobel Sissle with whom
he would later form the "Dixie Duo".

In 1921 "Sissle & Blake" achieved great success with their all black Broadway musical "Shuffle Along".

It was the first show to be conceived and performed entirely by African Americans.

Eubie Blake's most famous compositions were featured in the production including "Bandanna Days",
"Charleston Rag", "Love Will Find a Way", "Memories of You",
and "I'm Just Wild About Harry".

During the 1950's a renewed interest in rag time and jazz thrust the legendary pianist into the spot-lite once again.

With his recording career revived Eubie Blake became a favorite performer at jazz concerts and festivals
around the world continuing right up until his death in 1983.



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