1995 32¢ Jazz Musicians
Issue Date: September 16, 1995
City: Monterey, CA
Printed By: Sterling Sommers for Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: 11.1 x 11
Ten of Jazz music's most influential performers, composers, and personalities are honored on these stamps. Jazz music is an American art form that evolved from a blend of African, Caribbean, Latin, and European rhythms.
“Eubie” Blake was born James Hubert Blake in 1883 in Baltimore, Maryland. His parents had been slaves. As a child he studied music theory and organ. By the time he was in his teens, Blake was playing piano in cafés and brothels. In 1915 he met his partner – lyricist, vocalist, and band leader Noble Sissle. These two were among the first African-Americans to perform onstage without minstrel makeup.
In 1921 Blake and Sissle wrote the hit Broadway show Shuffle Along, which was among the first musicals to be written, produced, and directed by blacks. The play featured Blake’s most famous song, “I’m Just Wild About Harry.” Shuffle Along also introduced three new stars: Paul Robeson, Florence Mills, and Josephine Baker. Blake wrote the hit songs “Memories of You,” “Love Will Find a Way,” and “Lovin’ You the Way I Do,” as well as the score for Chocolate Dandies, a play which broke new ground for black performers.
Although Blake retired at age 63 he released a recording in 1972. In 1978 a Broadway musical called Eubie (based on his songs) put him back in the spotlight, and he returned to the stage. He made his last performance one week before his 99th birthday. Eubie Blake was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1981.