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A hundred years ago, during World War I, a group of American soldiers stormed Europe – not to the boom of guns, but the swinging rhythm of saxophones, drums and horns.Monday marked the centenary of what is said to have been the first jazz concert on European soil – staged by the 369th Infantry's "Harlem Hellfighters Band" in the northwestern French city of Nantes.Among the guests of honor at the opening were three of the grandchildren of the orchestra's leader, Lt. James Reese Europe – the black American bandleader known as the "king of jazz".After that night at Nantes's Theatre Graslin, Europe would never sound the same again.The 369th Infantry was one of the four African-American regiments sent from the racially segregated U.S. to fight under French command.
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