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One of New Orleans most favorite artists, Uncle Lionel Batiste, passed away Sunday morning, July 8. He was 81 years old and died after a short illness.
A fancy dresser and a dance teacher to all the ladies, Uncle Lionel frequented the music clubs in New Orleans and often joined the local bands in a song or two. He was always in a good humor and had a very positive outlook on life. Best known as the bass drummer in the Treme Brass Band Uncle Lionel also had many other talents. He traveled to the Molde Jazz Festival in Norway and the Ascona Festival in Switzerland many times and performed there as a Grand Marshal. He was also a fine vocalist with a large repertoire.
In 2001 Uncle Lionel recorded for the first time under his own name, Lars Edegran presents Uncle Lionel (BCD-464), a CD that showcases his vocal style with a variety of material including country tunes, blues, pop songs, and jazz tunes. Uncle Lionel can also be heard as a guest vocalist on Lars Edegran Triolian String Band (BCD-528) where he performs a soulful version of the funeral dirge “Lead Me Savior” and his goodbye song “We’ll Meet Again”.
He will be sorely missed.