HAROLD BATTISTE 1 - The Beat Goes On

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This week’s New Orleans Calling is the first of two very special episodes about the life, work, and legacy of Harold Battiste, one of the greatest musicians and teachers in New Orleans in the late 20th century. He was born in 1931, and before his death in 2015 he wrote, produced, arranged, or recorded hundreds of songs, toured the world, scored movies and television shows, and pioneered new sounds in jazz, R&B, and pop music.

And several times over the years he visited WWOZ, where this program is produced, to talk about his career and play some of his music. These interviews were stored and preserved in the Archive of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, and have not been heard since they first aired. And this week we delve into WWOZ’s archived past, and hear the story of Harold Battiste’s career — in his own words, speaking about Sam Cooke, Ed Blackwell, Dr John, Ellis Marsalis, Sonny & Cher, and more.

Special thanks to the original interviewers of Harold Battiste on air at WWOZ all those years ago — Pat Jolly, Melva Vallery, and Lorraine Farr. Their thoughtful and comprehensive interviews, and the fact that they recorded them on tape, made this show possible. If you listen closely, you’ll hear them in conversation with Harold a couple of times. (To say nothing of the outside traffic sounds you can hear in WWOZ’s old studio above Tipitina’s.)

Harold Battiste himself is a huge topic to cover, and we can only scratch the surface in two episodes of New Orleans Calling. His autobiography, Unfinished Blues, written with Karen Celestan, is a fascinating and honest self-portrait by an artist who changes and expands his mind over time.

Nest week’s episode, “Keeping The Music Alive,” features conversation with some of the young musicians he mentored, who now carry on his legacy.



American Jazz Quintet – “Capetown” (bed)
Lester Young – “Lester’s Mop Mop Blues” (bed)
American Jazz Quintet – “Nevermore”
AFO Executives – “The Big B.N.” (bed)
Sam Cooke – “You Send Me”
American Jazz Quintet – “Nigeria” (bed)
American Jazz Quintet – “To Brownie”
AFO Executives – “Old Wine” (bed)
AFO Executives and Tammy Lynn – “Money” (bed)
Willie Tee – “All for One”
Lee Dorsey – “Lover of Love” (bed)
Lee Dorsey – “Ya Ya” (bed)
Barbara George – “I Know” (bed)
Harold Battiste and Melvin Lastie – “Ignant” (bed)
Sonny and Cher – “I Got You Babe (instrumental)” (bed)
Dr. John – “Gris Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya”
AFO Executives – “WYLD” (bed)
Ellis Marsalis Quartet – “Monkey Puzzle”
Ellis Marsalis Quartet – “After” (bed)
Ellis Marsalis Quartet – “Swingin’ at the Haven ”
American Jazz Quintet – “Ohadi” (bed)
American Jazz Quintet – “Capetown” (bed)

NEW ORLEANS CALLING is a production of WWOZ, listener-supported community radio in the Crescent City.
Host, writer, editor, interviewer, audio engineer, intrepid field recorder, and co-producer is George Ingmire.
Dave Ankers is the producer.
Melanie Merz is the supervising producer.
National distribution managed by Russell Shelton and Carmen Connor Post.
Web support by David Stafford.
Executive Producer is WWOZ’s General Manager David Freedman.

This special episode could not have been made without the assistance of Rachel Lyons and Dolores Hooper of the Archive of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, where the recorded interviews with Harold Battiste are preserved.

Special thanks to:
Sally Young and Melanie Merz for their voice talents.
Everyone at Basin St Station.
WWOZ volunteers Catey Boyle and Doug Marshall.
Photo courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection.

Air time: 
Monday, January 9, 2017 - 10:15am

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