Art Neville

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Art Neville
Art Neville - The funky Meters.jpg
Neville at the 2012 Jazz Fest
Background information
Birth nameArthur Lanon Neville
Born(1937-12-17)December 17, 1937
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedJuly 22, 2019(2019-07-22) (aged 81)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Genres Funk, R&B, soul
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, bandleader
InstrumentsVocals, piano, keyboards
Years activeEarly 1950s–2018
Associated acts Hawketts, Neville Sounds, The Meters , Neville Brothers , The Funky Meters

Arthur Lanon Neville (December 17, 1937 – July 22, 2019) was an American singer, songwriter and keyboardist from New Orleans.

Contents

Neville was a staple of the New Orleans music scene for over five decades. He was the founder of the funk band The Meters whose musical style set the tone of New Orleans funk, a co-founder of the rock-soul-jazz band The Neville Brothers, and he later formed the spinoff group The Funky Meters. [1] [2] He performed on many recordings by notable artists from New Orleans and elsewhere, including Labelle (on "Lady Marmalade"), Paul McCartney, Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer, Dr. John and Professor Longhair. [3] [4] He was the recipient of three Grammy awards.

Life and career

Neville grew up in New Orleans. He was the son of Amelia (Landry) and Arthur Neville Sr. [5] [6] He started on piano and performed with his brothers at an early age. He was influenced by the R&B styles of James Booker, Bill Doggett, Booker T. Jones, Lloyd Glenn and Professor Longhair. [4] [7] In high school he joined and later led The Hawketts. In 1954 the band recorded "Mardi Gras Mambo" with Neville on vocals. [3] [8] The song gained popularity and became a New Orleans carnival anthem. The band toured with Larry Williams. Neville performed regularly in New Orleans, joined the U.S. Navy in 1958, and returned to music in 1962. He released several singles as a lead artist in 1950s and 1960s. [4] [9]

In early 1960s Neville formed the Neville Sounds. The band included Aaron Neville, Cyril Neville, George Porter, Leo Nocentelli, and Ziggy Modeliste. [3] [7] Shortly after, Aaron and Cyril left the group to form their own band. [9] The remaining four members continued playing at the Nitecap and the Ivanhoe nightclubs. [4] [9] The band backed many notable artists such as Lee Dorsey, Betty Harris and The Pointer Sisters. [3] [4] The band had a strong sense of groove and unlike traditional groups each instrument was free to lead and go anywhere musically. Over time the band's style came to represent New Orleans funk. [3] [5]

In the late 1960s the band changed its name to The Meters and released three instrumental albums. [4] Early on, compositions were through live improvisation, however this changed in the early 1970s. [7] [9] The band gained notoriety in the rock music community including with musicians Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer and The Rolling Stones. [5] The group released five more albums and disbanded in late 1970s due to financial, managerial and artistic factors. [10] The band's musical style emphasized rhythm over melody [4] and had a lasting impact on upcoming musical styles such as hip-hop as well as jam bands including Phish, Galactic and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. [3] [11] [12] [13]

Art Neville (left) and George Porter Jr. of the Funky Meters at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2004 Funky meters2004.jpg
Art Neville (left) and George Porter Jr. of the Funky Meters at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2004

In 1978 Neville and his brothers Cyril, Aaron and Charles formed The Neville Brothers. Previously, the brothers had worked on The Wild Tchoupitoulas album. [9] The group's debut album, titled The Neville Brothers, was released in 1978. [14] In 1981 music critic Stephen Holden wrote: the Neville Brothers' style of soul music combines "funk, doo-wop, reggae and salsa under the banner of New Orleans rhythm and blues". [15] [16] The group released several albums throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including Fiyo on the Bayou and Yellow Moon , and an album in 2004. [14] During this period, Neville performed several shows with the original Meters bandmates including a 1989 reunion at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Following that performance, Neville, Porter, Nocentelli and Russell Batiste formed The Funky Meters. The lineup changed in 1994 with Brian Stoltz replacing Nocentelli on guitar. Neville performed concurrently with both The Neville Brothers and The Funky Meters. [9]

In a 1995 interview, Neville spoke about the joy of live improvisation. He said "The best part, to me, is when the [rhythm] just evolves into some other stuff." [7] Neville received a Grammy in 1989 with The Neville Brothers for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. He received a Grammy in 1996 with various artists for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in "SRV Shuffle", a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan. He was nominated for a Grammy in 1999 in category Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. [17] He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 as a member of The Meters. [18]

Neville retired from music in December 2018. [19] He died in New Orleans at the age of 81 on July 22, 2019, after years of declining health. He was survived by his wife of thirty three years, Lorraine, three children, a sister and his two brothers Aaron and Cyril. [20] [16] The Recording Academy and Louisiana governor John B. Edwards released statements in recognition of Neville's contributions to New Orleans music. [21] [22]

Personal life

Neville was married to wife Lorraine and had three children, Arthel, Ian, and Amelia. [6] Arthel Neville, born from first wife Doris Neville, is a journalist, television personality and news anchor for Fox News. [23] [24] Ian Neville is a guitar player and a founding member of Dumpstaphunk, a New Orleans-based funk and jam band. [25] He occasionally performed with The Funky Meters, [26] Slightly Stoopid, and Dr. Klaw.

Discography

Singles

Adapted from Discogs. [27]

Other contributions

Further reading

Related Research Articles

The Meters American funk band

The Meters are an American funk band formed in 1965 by Zigaboo Modeliste (drums), George Porter Jr. (bass), Leo Nocentelli (guitar), and Art Neville (keyboards) in New Orleans. The band performed and recorded their own music from the late 1960s until 1977 and played an influential role as backing musicians for other artists, including Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer, Dr. John, and Allen Toussaint. Their original songs "Cissy Strut" and "Look-Ka Py Py" are considered funk classics.

The Neville Brothers American rhythm and blues, soul, and funk band

The Neville Brothers were an American R&B/soul/funk group, formed in 1977 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Aaron Neville American soul/R&B singer and musician

Aaron Joseph Neville is an American R&B and soul vocalist and musician. He has had four platinum albums and four Top 10 hits in the United States, including three that went to #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. His debut single, from 1966, was #1 on the Soul chart for five weeks.

<i>Rejuvenation</i> (The Meters album) 1974 studio album by The Meters

Rejuvenation is the fifth studio album by the New Orleans funk group The Meters. It was released in 1974. In 2003, the album was ranked number 138 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and 139 in a 2012 revised list.

<i>The Wild Tchoupitoulas</i> (album) 1976 studio album by The Wild Tchoupitoulas

The Wild Tchoupitoulas is a 1976 album by the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian tribe The Wild Tchoupitoulas. While not a commercial success, the effort was well received critically and the experience recording it encouraged the four Neville brothers to perform together for the first time as a group.

<i>Look-Ka Py Py</i> 1969 studio album by The Meters

Look-Ka Py Py is the second studio album by the American funk group The Meters. The instrumental album was ranked number 218 on the Rolling Stone list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003, and 220 in a 2012 revised list.

Cyril Neville American percussionist and singer

Cyril Garrett Neville is an American percussionist and vocalist who first came to prominence as a member of his brother Art Neville's funky New Orleans-based band, The Meters. He joined Art in the Neville Brothers band upon the dissolution of the Meters.

Ziggy Modeliste American funk drummer

Joseph "Ziggy" Modeliste is an American drummer best known as a founding member of the funk band The Meters. He is widely considered an innovator in the funk genre and New Orleans style drumming. The Meters' music had a defining role and set the stylistic tone of New Orleans funk. Due to his work with the band, Modeliste is credited as an integral part of bringing New Orleans second-line grooves into popular music.

Mardi Gras Mambo single

"Mardi Gras Mambo" is a Mardi Gras-themed song written by Frankie Adams and Lou Welsch. The song's best known version was recorded in 1954 by the Hawketts, whose membership included Art Neville, a founding member of the Meters and the Neville Brothers. It is one of the iconic songs frequently played during the New Orleans Mardi Gras.

<i>The Meters</i> (album) 1969 studio album by The Meters

The Meters is the debut album by the American funk group The Meters. It was released in May 1969, the first of eight albums by the band. The band's early works were developed through improvisation. Band members had spent most of the 1960s performing together in nightclubs of New Orleans. They had a fluid musical style that included elements of R&B, rock, and jazz.

<i>Struttin</i> 1970 studio album by The Meters

Struttin' is the third studio album by the funk group The Meters. It is the band's first album featuring vocal performances.

<i>Cabbage Alley</i> 1972 studio album by The Meters

Cabbage Alley is the fourth studio album by the funk group The Meters.

<i>Fire on the Bayou</i> 1975 studio album by The Meters

Fire on the Bayou is the sixth studio album by the funk band The Meters.

<i>New Directions</i> (The Meters album) 1977 studio album by The Meters

New Directions is the eighth and final studio album by the funk group The Meters. Produced by David Rubinson in California, it is the band's first and only album produced outside New Orleans. The album features the Oakland-based Tower of Power horn section.

George Porter Jr. American funk bass guitarist and singer

George Joseph Porter Jr. is an American musician, best known as the bassist and singer of The Meters. Along with Art Neville, Porter formed the group in the mid 1960s and came to be recognized as one of the progenitors of funk. The Meters disbanded in 1977, but reformed in 1989. Today the original group still plays the occasional reunion but the Funky Meters, of which Porter and Neville are members, most prominently keeps the spirit alive.

Leo Nocentelli American musician and songwriter

Leo Nocentelli is an American musician and songwriter best known as a founding member and lead guitarist of the funk band The Meters. He wrote the original versions of several funk classics such as "Cissy Strut" and "Hey Pocky A-Way". As a session musician he has recorded with a variety of notable artists such as Dr. John, Robert Palmer and Etta James. He is the recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as a member of The Meters.

Dumpstaphunk American funk and jam band

Dumpstaphunk is a funk and jam band from New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

Russell Batiste Jr. American drummer

David Russell Batiste Jr. is an American drummer based in New Orleans.

<i>Kickback</i> (album) 2001 compilation album by The Meters

Kickback is a collection of rare and unreleased material by the funk group The Meters.

<i>Funkify Your Life: The Meters Anthology</i> 1995 compilation album by The Meters

Funkify Your Life: The Meters Anthology is a compilation album by the funk group The Meters. The album was released in 1995 by Rhino Records. It is a comprehensive compilation of the band's work.

References

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  18. Renée Fabian (January 9, 2018). "Tina Turner To Queen: 2018 Recording Academy Special Merit Awards". grammy.com. Archived from the original on April 7, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
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