honors series

Bob French, longtime Original Tuxedo Jazz Band leader and WWOZ deejay, has died

Publication: The Times-Picayune
Author: Keith Spera
Date: November 12, 2012

Robert “Bob” French Sr., the longtime leader and drummer of the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band and an outspoken, at times controversial, WWOZ-FM deejay, died on Monday, Nov. 12, after a long illness. He was 74.

Mr. French last performed with the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band in the summer of 2011. Afflicted with dementia and suffering from diabetes-related complications, he then moved into an assisted-living facility.
Mr. French grew up immersed in the traditional sounds of New Orleans. His father, banjo player Albert “Papa” French, took over the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band in the 1950s after the death of Oscar “Papa” Celestin, who founded the group in 1910.

As a young man, Mr. French rejected his father’s music in favor of rhythm and blues. His first gig in 1954 included Art and Charles Neville and piano wizard James Booker. One day, Papa French recruited his son to fill in for the Original Tuxedo’s ailing drummer. Bob French was so mortified by his sloppy performance that he committed himself to a proper study of traditional New Orleans jazz.

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Submitted by Courtney on November 13th, 2012 — 08:12am

Alvin Batiste - Marsalis Music Honors Series (2007)

Publication: All About Jazz
Author: Nick DeRiso
Date: February 13, 2011

People think of clarinets as this sound from a different era, and the guys who play them as having done so in black and white.

The late Alvin Batiste , who initially found his muse in Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time,” was never that way. His isn’t a same-ole, same-ole southland sound so much as a retro-fitted bebop update, with period instruments. Later, he dove into Sonny Stitt—and Batiste told me, a few years before his untimely passing, that he never emerged. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on February 14th, 2011 — 10:02am

The Honors Series Continues…2007

Date: 06.04.2007
Publication: Marsalis Music Read more »

Submitted by Ben on June 3rd, 2007 — 11:00pm