“Legendary Pioneer of Jazz”
Alvin Batiste is one of the most distinctive modern jazz clarinetists of his generation. A music master, composer, arranger, educator and performer, Batiste is best known for taking the music to the next level while at the same time, devoting his life to preparing the next generation of jazz musicians. He was a music pioneer who contributed to every music genre.
“Bat”, born in New Orleans in 1932, is among a few artists who have created a modern approach to improvising on the clarinet. One of his first of many accomplishments was being the first Black high school student to receive an invitation to perform with the New Orleans Philharmonic. Batiste performed Mozart’s Concerto with the orchestra. He later earned a Master’s degree of Music in clarinet performance and composition from Louisiana State University, a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Southern University in Baton Rouge and is the author of a book entitled “The Root Progression System: The Fundamentals of African American Music.”
Bat joined the Jazz Camp faculty in 1995 at the invitation of the program’s Artistic Director, Kidd Jordan, his long-time friend and brother in law. Alvin was a founding faculty member and contributed greatly to the success of the program providing instruction and master classes in clarinet and overseeing large ensembles.
His life and contributions impacted many professional and budding musicians. Former students include many successful jazz musicians, composers, recording artists and educators. A partial list includes Randy Jackson (American Idol), Antonio York, Roland Guerin, Troy Davis, Donald Edwards, George Fontenette, Herman Jackson, Henry Butler, Branford Marsalis, Kent Jordan, Marlon Jordan, Donald Harrison, Jr., Chris Severin, Willie Singleton, Herlin Riley, Reginald Veal, Yolanda Robertson Windsay, Ernest Jackson, Margaret Valet, Jonathan Bloom, Coco York, Wes Anderson, Ed Perkins, Julius Farmer, Dennis Nelson, Kirk Ford, Al Rodriguez, Charlie Singleton, Monty Seward, Betsy Braud, Michael Ward, Raymond Harris, John Gray, Quamon Fowler, Maurice Brown, Woodie Douglas and many others.
Alvin spent time in Los Angeles in 1956 playing with Ornette Coleman and received international attention after appearing on two recordings with Cannonball Adderley. Alvin also performed with the Ray Charles Orchestra, Kidd Jordan, Ellis Marsalis, Harold Battiste, Ed Blackwell, Larry Darnell, Joe Jones, Smiley Lewis, Joe Robichaux, Guitar Slim, Marlon Jordan, George Williams, the American Jazz Quintet and others.
His last CD “Marsalis Music Honors Alvin Batiste” with Branford Marsalis, Herlin Riley, Russell Malone, Lawrence Fields and Ricardo Rodriguez is one of his best works. Few musicians are more deserving of honors than Alvin Batiste, who has been a central figure in shaping modern music for the past half century. His recordings provide a rare glimpse of a giant who spent most of his career out of the limelight.