Born: November 7, 1932 | Died: May 6, 2007
A music master, composer, arranger, educator and performer - Alvin Batiste defies description.
He is a Renaissance Man for the 21st Century.
He is a Music Pioneer who has contributed to every genre.
He is simply Batiste - one of the most distinctive and virtuosic of modern jazz clarinetists, and his name alone has become synonymous with taking the music to the next level and the next generation.
Although sometimes called a New Orleans clarinetist (his Columbia album even billed him as a Legendary Pioneer of Jazz), in reality Alvin Batiste is an avant-garde player who does not fit easily into any classification. Under-recorded throughout his career, Alvin Batiste was a childhood friend of Ed Blackwell and he spent time in Los Angeles in 1956 playing with Ornette Coleman....
The final day of the 2007 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival celebrated the life and music of Alvin Batiste more poignantly than anyone imagined.
The modern jazz clarinetist, composer and educator was scheduled to share a two-hour set Sunday with veteran drummer Bob French at the AT&T/WWOZ Jazz Tent. Special guests Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. would sit in as a tribute to Batiste and French, two musicians whose influence far outstripped their fame.
But 13 hours before the performance, Batiste's wife and constant companion, Edith, checked on her husband as he sat in front of a television in their Uptown home...