Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man

Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man

by Harold Battiste

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Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man by Harold Battiste, Karen Celestan

“The writing is where I dump my downs. . . . The music is where I dump my ups.”

In this heartbreakingly honest memoir, acclaimed jazz musician Harold Battiste Jr. revisits the highs and the lows of an unparalleled career. Born and raised in New Orleans, Battiste has served as an ambassador for the city’s jazz tradition—and the African-American artists at the heart of that tradition—from East Coast to West, classroom to studio, soundstage to set.

A producer, Battiste launched the careers of Dr. John, Sonny & Cher, Sam Cooke, Joe Jones, and Barbara George. Unfinished blues introduces an array of jazz luminaries and pop stars: Duke Ellington, Ornette Coleman, Cannonball Adderley, Barry White, the O’Jays, and Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis.

A businessman, Battiste founded All for One (AFO), the nation’s first African-American owned and operated record label—and recorded the first wave of contemporary jazz artists in New Orleans, including clarinetist Alvin Batiste, drummers Ed Blackwell and James Black, saxophonists Nat Perrilliat and Alvin “Red” Tyler, and pianist Ellis Marsalis.

An educator, Battiste worked alongside Ellis Marsalis to build the world-renowned jazz studies program at the University of New Orleans. He can count among his protégés many of today’s leading young jazz musicians—a “next generation” of artists keeping the New Orleans sound alive.

A community leader, Battiste has served on the Louisiana State Music Commission; the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation School of Music; the Louisiana Jazz Federation; and the Congo Square Cultural Collective.

A sense of urgency propels Battiste’s journey: “The old cats who gave us our roots are dying,” he senses. “And the new cats in N.O. can’t absorb the full heritage because too many of us are not there or have quit playing or caring.” And so he keeps playing, keeps caring. Keeps writing too—dumping the downs, lifting us one and all with the ups. Unfinished Blues begins as his story but ends as a communal story of struggle, strength, and renewal.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940016576015
Publisher: The Historic New Orleans Collection
Publication date: 04/08/2013
Series: The Louisiana Musicians Biography Series , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 1,021,092
File size: 16 MB
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About the Author

Harold R. Battiste Jr. is a retired composer, arranger, musician and music professor. He was a producer, conductor and musical director for studio, stage, motion pictures and television with credits in jazz, classical, blues and pop. Battiste has been awarded six gold records from ASCAP. He has helped to shape the careers of many artists, including Sam Cooke, Sonny & Cher, Cannonball Adderley, Dr. John, the O’Jays, Billy Davis and Marilyn McCoo, and Ornette Coleman. He assisted in creating the respected jazz studies program at the University of New Orleans with renowned pianist and music professor Ellis Marsalis. Battiste is a graduate of Dillard University with a bachelor of arts in music. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Dillard University. He lives in New Orleans.

Karen Celestan handles community relations and policy in government affairs for Tulane University. She was senior director of university communications for Dillard University, publications and media coordinator for Festival Productions, Inc. (which produces The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and other events), and a copy editor for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including the Times-Picayune, Gambit Newsweekly, the Louisiana Weekly, and several literary magazines and poetry collections. Celestan is a graduate of the University of New Orleans with a bachelor of arts in communications and English, and Queens University of Charlotte, North Carolina, with a master of fine arts in creative writing. She lives in New Orleans.

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Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Sanplexra More than 1 year ago
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