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Alvin Batiste

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Few musicians are more deserving of honors than Alvin Batiste. As an instrumentalist, a composer and an educator, he has been a central figure in shaping modern music for the past half century, and the ten tracks on Alvin Batiste provide a too-rare glimpse of a giant who has spent far too much of his career out of the limelight.

Batiste was born in New Orleans in 1932, and is among the rare artists who have created a modern approach to improvising on the clarinet. “My dad played the clarinet,” Alvin explains, “and was a boyhood friend of the great Edmond Hall as well as a fan of Benny Goodman. I wasn’t that interested in learning the instrument when he bought one for me, until I heard Charlie Parker’s recording of ‘Now’s the Time’ at a friend’s house. You could only find records like that in one or two stores in New Orleans at the time, and my reaction was, ‘What was that?’ I started practicing seriously at that point.”

After applying himself in a high school that also produced his future colleagues Harold Battiste and Ed Blackwell as well as trombonist Benny Powell, Batiste entered Southern University in Baton Rouge, where he majored in music. The Civil Rights era was dawning, and white musicians like trombonist Frank Rosolino still had to sneak over from the segregated Louisiana State University campus to jam with Southern students, but the US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education gave Batiste a glimpse of new opportunities.

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  • PigBragCrack

    MEEEEE MEEEEEEEEE MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

    17 Dec 2007 Reply
  • kellebag

    I left that comment in November, and now I'm saying the same thing. He was the baddest player around, and I'm so grateful that he taught ME

    6 May 2007 Reply
  • 25dollars

    bat is BAD!!!!! [meaning good]

    9 Nov 2006 Reply

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