Damn! Unc died. Friends, this is some mighty sad if maybe unsuprising news, right here. ‘Uncle’ Lionel Batiste, ‘Unc’ to just about anyone who cared, has passed on to his reward. We a lil’ late with the news here too, I says unsuprising as Unc was 81 years old and had been lookin’ a sight older than that for at least 20 of ‘em. Still, wrinkled and grey he mighta been but he never seemed short on energy, always a smilin’, laughin’, dancin’ type dude. This guy started playin’ in bands back in the 30′s when he was only 11 and he only stopped ‘cos he’s dead. He was pretty much the living embodiment of the New Orleans brass band tradition and his funeral this weekend is gonna be some second line and a half, no doubt.
Uncle Lionel knew who he was and what he stood for. As the bass drummer for the Treme Brass Band he understood the importance of music in everyday life. He was an archetype without the desire to be a celebrity, a proud, self sufficient black man whose stage was the streets of his community and whose demeanor spoke volumes about the nature of dignity.
from the offbeat obituary
Here’s a nice clip of the Treme Brass Band in action on Decatur…
and carriers of the brass band torch The Soul Rebels have uploaded this tribute to the great man from one of their recent shows which features ‘Just A Closer Walk With Thee’ and ‘I Want My Money Back’ both of which have, I think, featured here or hereabouts on the gumbo mixes in their Treme versions. There’s a little exposition on what’s happenin’ there for y’all too, here y’all go
pics by Marc Pelletier