ESSENCE FAMILY DAY
JULY 3, 2023
Batiste clan stirs up finest in family music
By SCOTT AIGES
mark of the show. This was organic New Orleans rhythm-and-blues, even though the band
It has vet to be determined played some standards, including what accounts for a typically
"Stand By Me" and "Down By
New Orleans phenomenon: the the Boardwalk."
Clarinetist Alvin Batiste, best known for his traditional jazz
The Nevilles, Marsalises and work, told the crowd, "I bet you Jordans may be the best known, didn't know I could get funky." but at the Jazz and Heritage Fes- The combination not only tival Friday, the extended Batiste family proved that it too is a mu- worked, it was a truly unique
sound - the drums and bass
sical dynasty to be reckoned with.
rolled in like thunder, then the
For the first time, various Ba- clarinet blew in a gentle rain. tiste family members assembled
There was another unique mo-
for a performance at the ment when the band played a WVUE/WNOE Stage. It was a hard James Brown-style funk joyous and exuberantly funky and keyboardist David Batiste show that left nearly everyone (the drummer's father) sang the within earshot wearing an ear-to- lyrics to the Willie Dixon blues ear grin.
classic "Seventh Son."
The Batiste Brothers, a family elements, funk and blues, are re-band from Jefferson Parish, held lated but haven't been put it all together. Playing New together so explicitly before.
Orleans funk in the Neville
A jazzy version of "What a
Brothers vein, the Batistes differ
Friend I Have in Jesus" with
from the evilles in that all the
Harold Battiste on sax. and Earl
band members are immediate
King's "When You Go to the
family. The Nevilles' rhythm sec- Mardi Gras" with Milton Batiste tion members are not related to on trumpet, weren't as adventu-the four brothers fronting the resome, but they provided the band.
traditional backbone essential to
Joining the Batiste family re- this city's music. union were Olvmpia Brass Band
Teen-ager Peter Batiste Jr.,
leader Milton Batiste, jazz clar- son of one of the keyboardists,
inetist and Southern University came out for a rap number. He professor Alvin Batiste and a dis- started hesitantly but quickly tant cousin who spells his name warmed to the spotlight. differently, saxophonist Harold Travis Batiste, the 7-year-old Battiste, as well as three Batiste son of guitarist Paul, played cred-
ible drums on "When the Saints
Go Marching In." And 8-year-old
Drummer David Russell Ba- Jamal (son of David Sr.) also tiste Jr. kicked off the show with played drums, winning a big a chillingly funky second-line ovation for his astoundingly ma-pattern, soon augmented by a ture backbeat on "Big Chief." tastv bass riff that sounded like
By the time the show closed
the Nevilles* "Hey Pocky Way." with all the participants onstage but was actually a happy original singing the refrain "Louisiana, called "*Vew Orleans Music."
it's my birthplace." it was clear
Such tension between the fa- that music only gets better when miliar and the fresh was the hall- it's a family affair.
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Jon batiste and his family