Once on a streetcar, she said of his pianist’s hands, “Double those fingers up! Others copied that expression over the years: U.S. composer Eubie Blake, baseball hero Mickey Mantle and Hollywood producer Adolph Zukor. But his dictum was never to fret about it.“If you lose somebody, you don’t go to pieces over it. In the East, it was a time when black performers, “chiefly piano men, were the staple of entertainment… in the whorehouses. Then we shook hands. Did he “practice what he preached?”  Who was Eubie Blake? He and Noble Sissle remained partners for fifty years. The South, our elegant lady, was in the process of letting wounds heal, reviving and rebuilding. Recorded in 1969 He told the agents that Sissle and Blake had played in the houses of millionaires and the social elite and they dressed in tuxedos and he’d be damned if he’d let us go on stage in old overalls and act like a couple of ignoramuses.”. Eubie Blake was one of the most important figures in early-20th-century African-American music, and one whose longevity made him a storehouse of the history of ragtime and early jazz music and culture. B This one is Eubie Blake alone playing piano alone. Blake’s songs included ‘I’m Just Wild About Harry,’ ‘Love … Someone who wrote 3,000 tunes in his 100 years. You look like a pickpocket!”. During times when he was unemployed, the family lived on the fantastic income of $90 every three months from his Civil War service pension. At 90, “Eubie had a spring in his step, jumped out of his chair whenever a lady entered the room and could recall 1907 and last week with equal alacrity.” So wrote Lynn Norment in an Ebony article called “Farewell to Ragtime’s Apostle of Happiness.”, Nearing his 100th birthday, while sitting at a table with a man in his forties, a beautiful woman moved across the dance floor. But “bless her heart, she learned it, had arrangements made, and sang it in the same week,” Sissle would later say. He was born to former slaves, Emma and John Sumner Blake, on February 7, 1883 in Baltimore, Maryland. 1, was composed by Robert Boury between 1970-1973. It was really quite remarkable. Baltimore in the late 1800’s was an elegant woman picking herself up after being thrown by a horse. He could consume two quarters of champagne in an evening without any discernable effect. Emma “washed and cleaned for white folks.” (LT Carter). © The Ann Arbor News. Eubie Blake’s career, and life, did not end until he died in February 1983, one hundred years after he had been born. Len Lyons, in “The 101 Best Jazz Albums” said, “Their most powerful imprint upon the American theatre was made with the 1921 black musical “Shuffle Along,” which ran for a year and a half on Broadway. Eubie Blake is in total command of his mind and memory and of his still-facile and majestic hands. Life casts of musician Eubie Blake's hands made of polyester resin. Black and white 8x10 signed photograph of Blake sitting down with his hands crossed and wearing a dark suit-and-tie, glasses, and cloth cap. The ragtime pianists, reveling in their art, called themselves by such names as The Shadow, Jack the Bear, Big Head Wilbur, No Legs Casey, Abba Labba, Cat-Eye Harry, Boots Butler, Sparrow, Seminole, Slue-Foot Nelson, Sheet-Iron Brown, Wild Cat Joe, Black Diamond, Squirrel and John the Baptist (from Reminiscing With Sissle & Blake). He began composing his own music. John and Emma Blake had been slaves in Virginia and came north to seek a better life. Sourced quotations by the American Lyricist Eubie Blake (1887 — 1983). All told, the show ran for more than 500 performances. One of these was One-Leg Willie Joseph, whose leg had been lost in an ice-skating accident. 1972, Berlin, Eubie Blake (p,v): 3:33 Charleston Rag / 4:35 I am Wild About Harry / 5:50 Memories Of You / The ink was still wet, and by the time Sophie held it in her hands the ink had run so badly the music was nearly unreadable. The photographs in the book are close crops of fingers on fretboards and keys as well as wider shots whose focus, nonetheless, is hands. Eubie’s friend said “Ahh! For more information, visit the Smithsonian's, International media Interoperability Framework. There is much in the way of legal demographic evidence to show that Blake was actually born in 1887, not 1883 as was commonly written throughout the second half of the 20th century. James Hubert "Eubie" Blake was an American pianist, lyricist, and composer of ragtime, jazz, and popular music. Recorded in 1968 and 1969, this record is by far the best way to get to know, love, and appreciate Eubie Blake, master of ragtime and gorgeous melodies.The taproot of jazz runs directly from Blake's generation up through all of those Eastern Seaboard ticklers, most significantly James P. Johnson and the school of what critics and historians have labeled Harlem stride piano. Donated by the Ann Arbor News. He felt, lived and played his music. And twelve was when he first got drunk. Black Americans. He will entertain you completely if you’re ever lucky enough to attend him in concert. In 1921, he and his long-time collaborator Noble Sissle wrote Shuffle Along, one of the first Broadway musicals to be written and directed by African Americans. Every purchase includes our industry recognized COA. Eubie Blake’s story is one that stretches from Aggie Shelton’s “Hookshop” (Eubie’s own definition) in Baltimore to the White House in Washington D.C. in 1978. What was his philosophy of life? When the elderly Mrs. Blake was congratulated at a backstage party on Eubie’s great achievements, she replied, “Some may see it that way but he might have done it all for Jesus instead.”. NOTE: Cataloging is an ongoing process and we may update this record as we conduct additional research and review. “They All Played Ragtime” tells of a gala performance of “Shuffle Along” in Baltimore in which blacks by special permission were allowed to sit in the boxes. His friends later said of him that they knew his spirit was hanging on, more than the body, because of his strong will to live. Amen.”. His father found him weaving in the street, brought him home to Mrs. Blake who “could smell whiskey on your breath if you were in Los Angeles and she was in Baltimore,” as Eubie Blake was later to say. It was Christmas. One of Eubie’s jobs, after Sheldon’s, was to be “Professor Hubert Blake,” who played a melodeon – a small reed organ – while buck dancing on the tailgate of a horse-drawn wagon. He has touched the lives of many through his music, a happy-go-lucky expression of his creativity – he loved ragtime and he always kept his own advice; never change the act if you know it’s a good one. By 1902, Eubie had gotten himself a new job buck dancing in “Old Kentucky,” a colored minstrel show in New York City. ... Holding hands at midnight 'Neath a starry sky… Nice work if you can get it, And you can get it if you try. Sometimes “destiny” comes into play at “the right time.”  It was in 1915 when Blake met Sissle, his partner-to-be. Its called from rags to classics I do play some classics on, there. Shop for Eubie Blake related autographs, signed photographs, historical documents and manuscripts from the world's largest collection. TOUR SUMMARY: In late 1800s, Baltimore, the remarkably talented James Hubert “Eubie” Blake who grew up on the East Side of town, began to pursue his passion for music and composed breakneck ragtime riffs that would later transform arts, culture and music history.Blake’s original childhood nickname was “Hubie” and would be later fine-tuned to “Eubie”. Of course he was the apple of his mama’s eye. Blake was also a composer and lyricist. Eubie Blake seemed to know exactly what he wanted to do with his life from the time he first embarked upon it. In 1910 Eubie also wrote “Troublesome Ivories,” a tune with which he wanted “to cut everybody with.”  This composition was difficult even for him to play. He returned later with a ham, a turkey, sweet potatoes and the works, with a quarter left over for Eubie. Authentic Boldly Hand Autographed Signed 3" X … Back in Baltimore, Eubie became a relief pianist for Big Head Wilbur at Alfred Greenfield’s Saloon for $1.25 a night. Shop for Eubie Blake related autographs, signed photographs, historical documents and manuscripts from the world's largest collection. We support, develop, promote and advocate for cultural and educational programming in the visual and performing arts. Eubie Blake, American pianist and composer of ragtime music, popular and vaudeville tunes, and musical theater scores, notably Shuffle Along (1921), his groundbreaking collaboration with singer and lyricist Noble Sissle. Inside the joint there were no chairs, only beer barrels and boxes scattered about big round iron tables. From 1910 until 1915, Eubie again spent his summers in Atlantic City. “Eubie’s mother, however, was not won over by her son’s success. 1400 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560, Get the latest information about timed passes and tips for planning your visit, Search the collection and explore our exhibitions, centers, and digital initiatives, Online resources for educators, students, and families, Engage with us and support the Museum from wherever you are, Learn more about the Museum and view recent news, There are restrictions for re-using this image. This was the stage set for Eubie Blake. But her feelings never stopped her from being a disciplinarian, rigid in her religious beliefs. This was the time of Reconstruction after the Civil War. He was paid $3 for a seven-day week plus tips which were lavish. B/w, 7¾x9¾ overall, 7x8¾ image, one surface. John Blake himself made $9 a week. She always sang like that. Biography. Eubie later got drunk on fifteen cents’ worth of liquor. Life casts of musician Eubie Blake's hands made of polyester resin. For the white ladies of the evening, he played the greatest hits of the times:  “After the Ball,” “Maggie Murphy’s Home,” “Hello! Eubie Blake, the American jazzman who died at 96, famously observed: "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." The casts end at the wrists and the proper left hand is pointed upwards, while the proper right hand is positioned at an angle. Eubie kept his career a secret from his parents until one day when a neighbor lady told Mrs. Blake she had heard coming out of Aggie Sheldon’s piano playing that could only be Eubie’s – because of the “wobble-wobble” in the left hand – a sort of reverse boogie bass which came to be Eubie’s trademark. The Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center brings artists and audiences from diverse backgrounds together. The early 20th century ragtime and jazz musicians Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle had a major hit on their hands when they co-wrote Shuffle Along, the first major Broadway musical by, for, and about African Americans. He was a prize piano student at the Boston Conservatory who influenced Eubie with the dramatic soft and loud contrasts of his music. He continued to work at the bordello, then others, while still living under the roof of his parents. It consists two books, three movements each. National Museum of African American History and Culture, http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/fd59bfda784-cacf-46c3-ba95-19700462484e. Blues, Rags and Stomps, Op. They brought their first collaboration – “It’s All Your Fault,” to Sophie Tucker, at the Maryland Theatre. Eubie Blake leaped halfway from his seat and yelled “Oh, professor, professor, you hit me, you hit me!” He placed both hands over his heart and continued with great emotion: “You make me think of my dear mother. I can hear her now. "IF I'D KNOWN I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself," Eubie Blake remarked while celebrating his 100th birthday. You are truly one of our greatest treasures.”, Eubie thought that music was something that could last a lot longer in the minds of some people than he himself could. He always said he wanted to live to be a hundred. Twelve was when he sang outside local bars with a group of friends for change. Created by Bobbiegita Walker, American, born 1942 Subject of Eubie Blake, American, 1887 - … I wish I I was twenty again!” Eubie looked at her and said “Ahh! Eubie himself had made the claim that he would cut up – outlast – his musician friends, as in his piano-playing. Eubie’s father, John Sumner Blake, was a stevedore at the Baltimore docks. Tags 1978-79, Eubie Blake, Gary Busey, Gregory Hines, saturday night live, Season 4, snl 8 Replies to “March 10, 1979 – Gary Busey / Eubie Blake and Gregory Hines (S4 E14)” Jurb says: Neither John nor Emma were musically inclined, except for Emma’s love of gospel music; she crooned hymns to her son in his crib. IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and media viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. Eubie kept his career a secret from his parents until one day when a neighbor lady told Mrs. Blake she had heard coming out of Aggie Sheldon’s piano playing that could only be Eubie’s – because of the “wobble-wobble” in the left hand – a sort of reverse boogie bass which came to be Eubie’s trademark. Eubie Blake and His Orchestra Eubie Blake & His Orchestra Real name James Hubert Blake Born February 7, 1887 Died February 12, 1983 Country United States IPI 00003303059 Comments Popular, ragtime and jazz pianist. Eubie had pneumonia and couldn’t leave bed to attend; but music from the 24-hour jazz concert at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church was telephoned in to him on a special apparatus. This Eubie accomplished. The floors were covered with sawdust. We were supposed to shuffle on stage in blackface and patched-up overalls. To get to Aggie Sheldon’s, “Mouse” waited every evening until his parents’ lamp went out and he could hear his father’s work boots drop. The casts end at the wrists and the proper left hand is pointed upwards, while … Eubie Blake initiated the heyday of the black musicals, and his work was in demand through the 1920’s. Born James Hubert Blake, February 7, 1883, in Baltimore, MD; died February 12, 1983, New York, NY; son of James Sumner Blake and Emily Johnston; married Avis Lee, July 1910-1939; Marion Gant Tyler 1945-1983; Began career as ragtime pianist in 1898; composed first piano rag, 1899; performed in Dr. Frazier’s Medicine Show in 1901 and toured with the stage show Old Kentucky in 1902; performed as a pianist at the Gold-field Hotel, Baltimore, 1907-1915; met Noble Sissle in 1915 and began musical association; tou… As he matured, his mother would wail, “the devil got in his fingers!”  And: “Take that ragtime out of my house!”. Or perhaps she had been waiting up, as some mothers do, to see that her son was okay. In 1910 he married Avis Lee of Baltimore, who herself was an accomplished classical pianist, an ex-schoolmate of Eubie. He also accompanied for singers Madison Reed, Mary Stafford (a great star of the day), Lottie Dempsey, Big Lizzie and Alabama Blossom. Kick it off!’ She’d stay up until I got back, waiting to make sure I kicked off all the sawdust!”. Thaťs the stuff I was raised on.” In the middle of the stage there is this big box with a piano in it. Sissle and Blake – the “Dixie Duo” – were one of the first Negro acts to play without burnt cork. He did not marry again until 1945 after he fell in love with Marion. Eubie Blake is in total command of his mind and memory and of his still-facile and majestic hands. Eubie Blake. Eubie Blake ended his bawdy house career after one evening when, mistaken for one of the bartenders at the Middle Section Assembly Club, Blake was shot. After the discovery about her son, Mrs. Blake called father and son into the room and said to John, “Do you know that Mr. Blake (which she called her son when she was displeased) has been playing in a bawdy house?”  Mr. Blake took his son outside and questioned his son, “How much money have you been making, boy?”  Eubie replied by taking his father upstairs, to show him $100 stashed under the carpet. Emma, small, tough and fervently religious, gave birth to 12 children, only one of whom lived past infancy – Eubie. (from Reminiscing With Sissle & Blake by Robert Kimball & William Bolcom). Eubie proved to be a torment to his mother, a demigod to upcoming Black musicians, and a credit to American society. Eubie’s wife, Avis, died in 1939. James Hubert "Eubie" Blake (February 7, 1887 – February 12, 1983), was an American composer, lyricist, and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music. During the early 1900’s Ragtime was all the rage. He could play the piano like an angel and finally he was among the angels. Created by Bobbiegita Walker, American, born 1942 Subject of Eubie Blake, American, 1887 - … If it was you that was gone, it would still be here, too. Just before Eubie died, the City of New York held two grand events celebrating his centennial. Eubie worked hard to develop his style, with emphasis on learning “tricks” that he, and he alone could play. New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo expressed the feelings of many when he composed the following mailgram to Eubie Blake for his centennial birthday:“We have all been enriched by your extraordinary contributions to the music of this century. Eubie Blake leaped halfway from his seat and yelled “Oh, professor, professor, you hit me, you hit me!” He placed both hands over his heart and continued with great emotion: “You make me think… This brought on the conflict with his mother which he had feared. Emma relented as long as her son would play only religious tunes. Despite his mother’s negativity and sometimes ferocity, Eubie Blake grew into the shoes he had planned to wear from early on. Ira Gershwin. Itinerant black piano plunkers had begun to trade, embellish and codify the swelling African music which they felt within themselves.”  The music of today – “all forms of jazz, gospel and rock” – evolves from the “dark bayous and backwater of ragtime” (LT Carter). Together with instrumental parts in a variety of hands, it now resides as part of the Eubie Blake Collection at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The other event was an all-star musical tribute to Eubie Blake, at which he was certainly there in spirit. But you got to get up and go out and live your life.”, This Eubie did. Eubie also became a very excellent buck dancer and this talent A man who made a mark on not only his own life, but the lives of people everywhere. At fifteen, still wearing short pants, he played piano in Aggie Sheldon’s bawdy house. Between 1906 and 1907 Eubie spent summers playing piano in Atlantic City where he met, competed with, influenced and was influenced by other musicians. Enjoy the best Eubie Blake quotes and picture quotes! Blake's compositions included such hits as "Bandana Days", "Charleston Rag", "Love Will Find a Way", "Memories of You" and … He performed at such places as the Belmont, the Bucket of Blood, Kelly’s and Ben Allen’s. Ducking behind the piano saved his life. Eubie Blake was one of the longest lasting pioneers of ragtime, and lived to nearly a week past his 96th birthday, although not his 100th as had long been believed. Eubie later said, “I worked form 4 PM till midnight. At twelve, Eubie “Hubert” Blake was busy with his passion. Eubie’s father went out that afternoon with no money for presents, no money for food. Well, Pat Casey (their agent) would have none of that. He was born to former slaves, Emma and John Sumner Blake, on February 7, 1883 in Baltimore, Maryland. If you have more information about this object, please contact us at NMAAHCDigiTeam@si.edu. How was Eubie Blake different from other pianist/ composers? The upright piano was still in its packing crate when Eubie first arrived. Recorded in 1968 and 1969, this record is by far the best way to get to know, love, and appreciate Eubie Blake, master of ragtime and gorgeous melodies.The taproot of jazz runs directly from Blake's generation up through all of those Eastern Seaboard ticklers, most significantly James P. Johnson and the school of what critics and historians have labeled Harlem stride piano. Would cut up – outlast – his musician friends, as in his.. Willie Joseph, whose leg had been waiting up, as some mothers do to. A better life they brought their first collaboration – “ it ’ s was an American,. Told, the Bucket of Blood, Kelly ’ s father went out that with... Promote and advocate for cultural and educational programming in the middle of the stage there is big. 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