Rob Cambre Bids Alvin Baptiste Farewell

May 11, 2007 by

This is a guest posting by Rob Cambre, mastermind of Anxious Sound Productions and musician par excellence! (Rob may soon be joining the Humid City team as a local music correspondant):
I hate sending out more death notices, but as many of you now know the great clarinetist and educator Alvin Baptiste died this weekend, just 13 hours prior to his scheduled performance at the JazzFest.

Many writings are out there by those who know far more about him than I do, but I was fortunate enough to see Alvin play many times over the years and spend some time talking with him at various workshops and conferences over the years, mostly through my connection to Kidd Jordan and Alvin Fielder.

The memory that looms largest however, is one of the very first jazz concerts I ever attended, which was a reunion performance of the American Jazz Quintet (which included Alvin, ED BLACKWELL on drums and Ellis Marsalis on piano) at the old
Riverboat Hallelujah on Tulane Avenue.  It was a double-bill with Alice Coltrane’s Quartet (with Roy Haynes, Reggie Workman + George Coleman), and it was my first time seeing players of that caliber in person.  A real eye-opener for this then-19 year old…especially hearing Batiste’s majesterial clarinet interacting with the dancing
drums of the great Blackwell.  I won’t forget it.

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