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New Orleans Clarinetist and Jazz EducatorCopyright © 2007
Alvin Batiste had a spectacularly varied career, ranging from jamming with Ornette Coleman during the revolutionary saxophonist's formative years to teaching Branford Marsalis, Donald Harrison and Herlin Riley. He died in his hometown of New Orleans of a heart attack at age 74, just hours before he was scheduled to perform with Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Considered one of the fathers of the modern jazz scene in New Orleans, Batiste attended high school with drummer Ed Blackwell. After a stint in the Army during the early 1950s, he attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, where he later taught, from 1969 to the mid-1980s. The jazz institute he created at Southern was one of the first of its kind in the United States. He also taught at the New Orleans Centre for Creative Arts, tutoring many young players who would form the new generation of Crescent City jazz.
Batiste toured with Ray Charles in 1958 and recorded with Billy Cobham and Cannonball Adderley, but it was his work with the Clarinet Summit in the 1980s that made his name outside of southern Louisiana.
His own recordings include: Bayou Magic (1988), Late (1993), Songs, Words and Messages, Connections (1999), and Marsalis Music Honors Alvin Batiste (2007).