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May 7, 2007

Clarinetist Alvin Batiste dies hours before N.O. Jazz Festival performance

Written by
cindy mcleod

Canadian blues music live

alvin batiste

Alvin Batiste
November 7, 1932 – May 6, 2007

Clarinetist Alvin Batiste, a founder of the modern jazz scene and a widely respected musician, composer and educator, died on Sunday, May 6 in New Orleans.

The jazz master, who was 71, died of an apparent heart attack just hours before was to perform with Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Considered one of the pioneers of modern jazz, Batiste recorded with drummer Billy Cobham, and saxophonists Ornette Coleman and Cannonball Adderley, among the many. The versatile musician was also in demand for his skills as a multi-instrumentalist (piano, saxophone), having toured and performed with a diversity of artists such as Ray Charles, Dr. John, and Guitar Slim.

Marsalis’ record label recently released Batiste’s latest CD, Marsalis Music Honors Alvin Batiste. Marsalis also played on the album. Batiste’s previous recording credits as leader include Bayou Magic (1988) Late (1993), and Songs, Words and Messages, Connections (1999).

A highly regarded educator, Batiste taught for several years at Southern University in Baton Rouge, where he created the Batiste Jazz Institute. He also taught at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, influencing many modern-day leaders in music, including saxophonist Donald Harrison, and pianist Henry Butler.

Alvin Batiste is survived by his wife of 53 years, Edith Chatters Batiste, and three children.

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