New Orleans piano legend Eddie Bo has passed away at age 78. Spokesperson Karen Hamilton confirmed that the musician died late Wednesday night of a massive heart attack. No funeral arrangements are available to the press at this time.
Bo, whose real name was Edwin Bocage, was a fantastically versatile pianist whose skills created the bridge between New Orleans R&B and funk. He was less known for his contributions as a producer. Signed to Joe Ruffinos Ric label in 1959, Eddie Bo scouted, arranged, produced and wrote for artists there including Irma Thomas, Tommy Ridgely, Robert Parker and Johnny Adams. A jack of all trades, Bo even built a small studio for Ruffino behind his office. In the early 60s, Bo recorded for several labels, including Scram, Rip, and the visionary AFO records (the AFO Combo backed him on his local dance hit Check Mr. Popeye, sometimes using the alias Roy Ward or recording with Chris Kenner, Candy Phillips. He eventually signed to Joe Banashaks family of labels in 1966, where he produced artists including Art Neville and Oliver Morgan.